True to Life | British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s

On now until 29 October 2017

£10 (£8) Free for Our Friends

Coming soon

“The exhibition of the season… Immaculate, highly detailed and luminously beautiful.
The Times

Bringing together more than 80 paintings by an almost forgotten generation of artists, this exhibition explores the realist tradition in British art between the two World Wars. It focuses on scrupulously detailed realist painting, part of a world-wide trend at the time.

“Enthralling… This ambitious and timely exhibition does more than pull out the unexpected. It recovers realism’s distinct and relevant voice in a short period of rapid change.”
★★★★ The Guardian

When abstract art became fashionable after the Second World War, these artists became side-lined and largely forgotten. Many artists of the period opted for a new kind of hard-edged, sharp-focussed realist painting, and found new subjects in modern life. This exhibition, showing only in Edinburgh, includes some 80 paintings, of astonishing technical accomplishment and stunning beauty, by more than fifty artists - including Gerald Leslie Brockhurst, Meredith Frampton, Laura Knight, James Cowie and Winifred Knights. Borrowed from public and private collections throughout Britain, this is a unique chance to rediscover a remarkable, but little known period in British Art.

“This strange and varied period is a curiosity that’s well worth being brought back into the light.”
★★★★ Sunday Telegraph

Part of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2017.

Image: Harold Williamson, Spray, 1939 © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. Photo credit: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

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Tour Communities & access
Gallery Social - True to Life: British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 30s
  • Modern Two
  • 25 August 2017
  • 10:30am - 12:00pm
  • FREE
Lecture or talk Adults
In Focus: The Deluge, 1920, by Winifred Knights
  • Modern Two
  • 14 August 2017
  • 12:45pm - 1:30pm
  • FREE
Course Adults
Screen Printing for Absolute Beginners
  • National, Modern
  • 30 September 2017
  • 10:30am - 4:00pm
  • £95.00
Course Adults
Plan, Compose and Construct a Painting in Oils
  • Portrait, Modern
  • 28 August 2017
  • 10:30am - 1:30pm
  • £120.00

Free for our Friends


Our friends receive unlimited free and fast-track entry to all exhibitions throughout the year, invitations to exclusive events and 10% discount in all of our cafes.

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