Your donations are essential to our organisation.
Our public fundraising focus for 2018 is to raise money to support the repair of our historic studios, this is an important step within our Capital Development which commences with the Garden and Garden Buildings this year.
The studios are right at the heart of what Hospitalfield is all about:- the support of artists.
As with each stage of an institution’s life, still responding to the 19th century bequest, yet interpreting it for the current times, our programmes at Hospitalfield continue to respond to artists and the studios continue to be the centre of the activity. In 2022 the very early 20th century studios will be 120 years old, they will have been used by many thousands of artists and arts students over the years. They have played a very important part in the story of Scottish art history.
Whilst they continue to be used, they are tired, the heating systems are out of date and we have dry rot making its way in to the structure where the 19th and 20th century studios meet. We want to return them to their original quality yet add, invisibly, modern insulation and heating so that they can be used all year round.
We will also commission a 21st century studio that responds in an up to date and bespoke way to how artists make work today. This will have sounds proof spaces and provide for artists who wish to use both digital and analogue moving image processes. In this way we will have wonderful facilities for all our programmes, spaces that were created for artists over three centuries and will meet the needs of artists now and well in to the future.
If you are a UK tax payer, and complete a Gift Aid Form we can also claim 25% additional Gift Aid from the government, boosting a donation of £10 to £12.50 or a donation of £100 to £125.
The grand architecture of the House and the carefully considered Arts & Crafts interiors are precious, a great magnet for visitors and make a wonderful place to stay, however it is the studios that provide us with a great signpost from Patrick Allan-Fraser, indicating his wish for the future function of the estate that he devoted his life to creating.
In 1843 Patrick Allan-Fraser married Elizabeth Fraser and moved from the tight knit community of artists that he had become a part of in London to start his new life back in his home town of Arbroath. His abundant energy led him to work ferociously on the development and business of the farmlands and we know that he had completed the Picture Gallery by the early 1850s. In parallel to this, he was designing and building his own studio, a building that today we call the Allan-Fraser studio.
He planned his studio to have wonderful consistent north light and adjustable light sources using levered shutters. In some respects the form of the picture gallery is repeated, or perhaps tested, in the studio in a very modest way, through the installation of a huge stone fire place and the wooden beams with the unpainted shields at their ends. In the Picture Gallery these shields are carefully executed family crests of the Fraser and Perrott families.
In 1890 Allan-Fraser died leaving a very complex bequest which included an instruction to commission new studios as part of the art college that he wanted the Trustees to establish. Two vast new painting studios were commissioned by the Trustees and completed in 1902 by the architect, David Robertson of Edinburgh (1834-1825).
Robertson was also an artist and showed work at the RSA from the 1870s and was the president of the Edinburgh Art Club. This combination of art and architecture aligns with Allan-Fraser’s interests and it may be that the two men knew each other.
Robertson’s 20th century studios, with their high volumes and outstanding north facing windows connect directly through into the smaller, panelled 19th century Patrick Allan-Fraser studio. Together these rooms create a wonderful complex of light spaces for artists to make work, initially drawing and painting, and now we use them for all the many disciplines that contemporary artists require.
It is here that so many artists have spent time working, from the early 20th century within Scotland’s only residential art school, to the extraordinarily important post graduate school that Hospitalfield became when the ‘scheme’ changes in the 1930s.
This period, during the war to 1948, was a time when Hospitalfield was under the stewardship of the painter James Cowie. After ten years as Warden, Cowie went on to head the fine art department at Gray’s School of Art and was succeeded at Hospitalfield by Ian Fleming, who was teaching at Glasgow School of Art prior to his move to Arbroath. In this way, through people and purpose, Hospitalfield linked to the four main art schools across Scotland.
Throughout the mid and late 20th century Hospitalfield hosted graduate students, new artists just emerging in to the world, as well as large groups of undergraduates who came for a few days at a time.
The three month long graduate scholarships were given to one or two artists from each college, mainly painters. Memorable recipients of the Hospitalfield Scholarship include, Joan Eardley, who later returned to teach. Also Robert MacBryde and Robert Colquhoun, Lil Neilson, Alastair Maclennan, Will McLean, Ian McKenzie Smith, Nita Begg, Joyce Cairns and Callum Innes. Peter Blake and Jann Haworth taught at Hospitalfield over two consecutive summers in the early 1970s and the list could go on.
The undergraduates came in a ‘huddle’ with their tutors to use the studios and spend a few days with their fellow students working against the rural backdrop of Hospitalfield with its reliable sunshine, sharp, clear coastal light and wide open landscape. Ask any art student from the 1980s and 90s and they are likely to remember being here; Graham Fagen, Douglas Gordon, who made things out of stones on the beach, and Roddy Buchanan.
In 2016 we ran a successful Crowdfunder campaign to restore the beautiful Erard Grecian Harp in our collection and individual donations have helped us to support artists projects and conserve objects in the past.
To see information about a forthcoming event using the Historic Erard Grecian Harp follow this link….