Design for the Dean Orphanage, Edinburgh1830
Long before the ideas of the modern welfare state took hold, throughout the 1700s and 1800s the Poor Law provided some form of social security for the poorest in society. It relied heavily on church donations and was administered through local parishes. Where the parish system was insufficient, private charities sometimes filled the gaps. The Orphan Hospital of Edinburgh is such an example. It was founded in 1733 by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Donations were given both in money and in kind – one baker in the Canongate donated 25 dozen bread rolls at the Hospital’s opening. By the early nineteenth-century the institution had outgrown its premises, and in 1833 the Hospital moved into a new building, designed by Thomas Hamilton, and became known as the Dean Orphanage.
- Glossary (4 terms)
A general term for European art and architecture from the 17th to the mid 18th centuries. It particularly refers to works characterised by a sense of movement and theatricality.
The revival of ancient Greek and Roman models of art and architecture, with particular importance put on simplicity and discipline. Such ideals have been revived at various points in history and contrast with more decadent and dynamic styles such as the Baroque.
A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.
A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.
- Glossary (2 terms)
When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.
Royal Scottish Academy
The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) was formed in Edinburgh in 1826 by Scottish artists who felt alienated by what they perceived as the elitism of the Royal Institution and its management of contemporary art exhibitions. In 1835, the RSA secured exhibition rights in the Royal Institution building, which had been erected on The Mound by the Board of Manufactures in 1826. The RSA and the Board frequently argued over responsibilities for advanced art education. From 1859, the RSA shared the premises of the new National Gallery of Scotland under the Board’s custody. In 1910, after transferring most of its art collections to the Gallery, the RSA gained exclusive tenancy of the former Royal Institution building, where it continues to hold large-scale annual exhibitions.
- Credits William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881
- Medium Pen and ink and watercolour over pencil on paper
- Size 29.90 x 40.70 cm