Sunday, 13 June 2010

Arts for All - Scotland Forever 1881

Many of the paintings housed in Leeds Art Gallery were given to the City. This was the first gift to the collection, from Colonel Harding, when the building was put up by the city Corporation in 1889 at a cost of over £10,000. One of the great favourites in the permanent collection.

Scotland Forever by Lady Elizabeth Butler.

Probably the best known painting of the gallant charge of the Royal North Dragoons, The Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo. According to an eyewitness Alexander Armour at the start of the charge the Greys had to pass through the ranks of the Highland Brigade and Armour recalled The highlanders were then ordered to wheel back, when they did so we rushed through them at the same time they heard us calling Now my boys Scotland Forever.

'When I visited Leeds Art Gallery to find out which piece of work they would allow me to embroider I had hoped to work on The Surgeons by Barbara Hepworth but there were problems. I was told this was the best known picture in the gallery and many people's favourite.
The picture was quite well known to me, it is reproduced in a book of famous paintings which my father owned. I was allowed to look at the pictures on Sunday afternoons.
The work was so detailed I thought that the only way to approach it was to start with a print.
I began to stitch into the print but found that the paint was starting to lift,so the only answer was to stitch the entire surface.
The sky took on an energy all its own, I hope it does no violence to the quality of the original.'

Freda Copley October 2004

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