The smoking room, the Scottish Arts Club
© The family of the Artist

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The smoking room, the Scottish Arts Club 1945
  • Scottish Art
Located in a large Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh’s West End, the Scottish Arts Club is an exclusive society for individuals involved in the creative arts and its members include painters, sculptors, musicians and writers. The room depicted in this conversation piece by Sir W O Hutchison is the club’s main lounge. In 1943, after ten years as Director of Glasgow School of Art, Hutchison moved to Edinburgh, where he became a regular visitor to the club. This painting shows some of his friends and fellow members: Dr Peddie is holding a pipe whilst in conversation with the artist Alick Sturrock. Meanwhile the Club President, Dr Whittaker, gives us a stern look over his glasses as landscape painter JG Spence Smith is about to leave the room.

Glossary Open

Conversation piece

A portrait group, usually comprising several figures from the same family or group of friends engaged in everyday pursuits. This form of painting was particularly popular in 18th century England.

Conversation piece


  • Acc. No. PG 2737
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 62.20 x 91.50 cm (framed: 76.90 x 107.50 x 8.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1988