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Untitled (Surrealist Townscape)
© Pulsford Estate

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Untitled (Surrealist Townscape) 1939

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This work is a remarkable example of Scottish surrealism. It was painted at Hospitalfield, a country house in Angus that operated as an art college, where Pulsford was a student in the late 1930s. It shows a fellow student sitting on a table reading a book, oblivious to the two partially naked women behind him. The building is the Employment Exchange at Tollcross, Edinburgh, which Pulsford would have passed when he was a student at Edinburgh College of Art. Typical of surrealist paintings, Pulsford has included several unusual objects, including a mirror reflecting a bright blue sky dotted with white cloud, a skull, ladder and jug. There are similarities with Paul Delvaux’s surrealist work ‘Call of the Night’, which Pulsford may have seen when it was exhibited in London in 1938.

Glossary Open


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.



  • Acc. No. GMA 5182
  • Medium Oil on plywood
  • Size 68.40 x 104.90 cm
  • Credit Presented by the artist's family 2012