Ya Bass! Bass Rock, A Timeless Muse

6 August to 11 September

Preview Friday 5 August 6-8pm

Special opening times for Fringe by the Sea – 12-5pm from 6-14 August

The volcanic plug that is Bass Rock, sits a few miles off the coast at North Berwick. Its presence to people who live in East Lothian has provided a timeless, reassuring permanence. Something to gaze and marvel at throughout the changing seasons, something to come home to, a familiar friend.

To artists it has proved an irresistible muse. It will have been drawn in the sand, scratched on rock faces and chalked on pavements for centuries. Many of the great Scottish artists have been seduced by its charm and mystery.

Alexander Nasmyth’s famous Romantic interpretation of Tantallon Castle and Bass Rock painted circa 1816 sits proudly in the National Galleries of Scotland collection, a dramatic composition of the castle and the rock against the elements.

Soon after, in 1818, JMW Turner visited Edinburgh and was drawn to Bass Rock producing a series of sketches and watercolours that were to be used in Walter Scott’s “The Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland”.

Later, artists such as Samuel Bough, William McTaggart, his grandson William MacTaggart, Alexander Fraser, Patrick William Adam, William Miller Frazer, John Campbell Mitchell, John Blair and William Gillies all found the lure of the rock irresistible.

More recently, John Houston’s countless expressive studies of Bass Rock have made the rock almost emblematic of his work. Seen from various angles with the changing backdrop of weather and light, Bass Rock was the perfect focus for Houston to express his art. Similarly, Bass Rock appears frequently in the work of perhaps East Lothian’s most famous artist, John Bellany.

Working today, Matthew Draper’s fascination with Bass Rock has produced arguably the most dramatic studies of all. Equal in atmosphere and majesty to the landscapes of the great Scottish Romantic artists such as Alexander Nasmyth and Horatio McCulloch, Matthew’s versions are both contemporary and timeless.

The current show draws both from the past as well as from a host of successful contemporary Scottish artists working today. A wide range of styles and medium will guarantee a varied and interesting exhibition.

The current line-up includes…

Matthew Draper, Simon Laurie, George Birrell, Davy Brown, Neil Macdonald, Alice McMurrough, Henry Kondracki, Jock MacInnes, June Carey, Alan Connell, Patti Yuill, Claire Beattie, Dominique Cameron, Joseph Urie, Mark Bannerman, Angela Repping, Jayne Stokes, Georgina Bown, Fee Dickson, Rachel Marshall, Andy Heald, Arran Ross, Neal Greig, Suzanne Kirk, Carmen Ambrozevich, Gordon M Scott, John Boak, Allan Robertson, Michel Rulliere as well as pieces by John Bellany, Frank White, George Blackie Sticks, William Miller Frazer and others.