Cockburnspath’s contribution to The Story of Scottish Art is celebrated in the BBC Scotland series, currently being presented by artist Lachlan Goudie.
The years between 1880 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 saw one of the most adventurous periods in the history of Scottish art – as a new generation of artists travelled overseas to experience the shock of the new, to learn and to experiment. When they returned home – approaching Scottish subjects with a vibrant palette and revolutionary artistic ideas – they captured the spirit of Scotland at the dawn of the modern age.
In the third episode of the four-part series, painter Lachlan Goudie reflects on Cockburnspath played a part in the art of time, particularly through the work of artist James Guthrei.
He explores how The Glasgow Boys set out to move Scotland’s art away from romanticised highland views; they wanted their art to be democratic – to reflect the everyday lives of ordinary people. He discovers how Arthur Melville, an artist-buccaneer, ventured across the Continent – and beyond – pushing the boundaries of watercolour painting and transforming the Scottish palette with a riot of colour. On the wind-swept shores of Kintyre, Lachlan reveals how William McTaggart captured the soul of Scotland’s landscape, and its people, in the wake of momentous social change. At Hill House in Helensburgh, Lachlan admires how a true Scottish genius, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, re-worked age-old forms in exhilarating new ways. Finally, Lachlan recounts how J.D.Fergusson took pre-WW1 Paris by storm, with a series of astounding canvases that were modern, Continental and Scottish - all at the same time.
Ranging from the rolling fields of Berwickshire to the dazzling sunlight of the Cote d’Azur, this is the story of Scottish art during a restless age: an age when Scotland’s artists cast out, beyond their own horizons, whilst feeling the familiar tug of home; when they looked to the future, but drew inspiration from the past; when Scottish art was defined by comings and goings - by the ceaseless ebb and flow of people and ideas.