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Images from Scotland, April 2012

“Scotland: Through the Eyes of the Artist
through The Art League (Old Town, Alexandria, VA)

with Robert Liberace,
April 2-9, 2012

We had an exciting week in Scotland this year. We prevailed through the wind and rain (and even a bit of sleet) with the help of some newly purchased tartan scarves, gloves, hats… and even a few kilts! We were priveleged to stay in the heart of Old Town, Edinburgh’s historical center on the Royal Mile, between the Palace of Holyrood and Edinburgh Castle.

The group toured the Scottish National Gallery with a focus on Edinburgh’s own portrait painter, Sir Henry Raeburn and, of course, John Singer Sargent. We first had the opportunity to see a rare red chalk drawing exhibit and then Rob gave a talk about Lady Agnew, one of Sargent’s most well loved paintings. It was intresting to see museum guards dressed in kilts complete with full Scottish regalia. The afternoon was spent touring the dungeons and towers of Edinburg Castle which overlook the city. Students who found warm corridors spent time sketching.

The Queens Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse was next, which featured a collection of 100 outstanding works from five centuries of royal collections, which included paintings by Rembrandt, Canaletto and Monet, and drawings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Holbein. Most of these were on display in Scotland for the first time as 2012 marks the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. In the afternoon we had a private tour of the Palace itself. The Queen has no idea she’s had a group of artists stalking her for several years now. We keep popping in but she never seems to be home! The Palace of Holyrood is Queen Elizabeth’s “other” home, apart from Buckingham Palace. It has been the home of Scottish Kings and Queens for centuries, including one who could arguable be considered Scotland’s most famous historical figure, Mary, Queen of Scots. We spent time in her personal chambers, which we entered via the secret stairway.  Her sleeping chamber is set up as it had been in the 16th century. We capped off the tour off with a champagne toast.

Margaret planned two excursions out of Edinburgh. First off was a trip into the highlands to visit the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. It was an out-of-this-world experience driving through the surreal landscape in the highlands, complete with fog banks and mountains which looked as if they had come from the pages of a fairy tale. This pristine castle is located on a point where three Scottish sea lochs meet. Many a Hollywood movie has been filmed there.

Another morning was spent at the National Portrait Gallery, which had floor upon floor of the national collections of Scottish Portraits. We enjoyed having lunch under an original Sargent painting in the dining area. How often do you get this chance?

Our final road trip was a visit to see the breathtaking remains of the Abbeys of Melrose and Jedburgh, set amidst the green rolling hills and picturesque countryside of the Scottish Borders. Both Abbeys were built during a period of medieval renaissance in the 12th century but later were gutted by wars, during years of border fighting with England beginning in 1286. We spent time drawing at Melrose Abbey, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ruins in Europe – a wonderful way to wind down the workshop.

As always, thanks to Margaret Cerutti of The Art League for her hard work in coordinating our busy schedule and field trips! And thanks as well to our wonderful group, who hung in there beautifully, despite the weather!

Images compiled and taken by Lina Liberace, May Gwinn and Margaret Cerutti.


Sketching at Melrose Abbey, in the Scottish Borders.


A view of the Royal Mile, looking toward the Palace. We stayed in the building with the turret, on the right.


What the well dressed man wears in Edinburgh.


Ava in in the beautiful Saint Giles Cathedral, just up the street a block from our hotel.


Saint Giles Cathedral, Tomb of James Gaham, 1st Marquess of Montrose.


A view from an Edinburgh bridge.


A field between the Abbeys where, each year the farmer plows his field, and new artifacts are
unearthed from the remains of a Roman encampment.




Jedburgh Abbey

Norma, dwarfed by the skeleton of Jedburgh Abbey.



Drawing at Melrose Abbey


A photo from the grounds of Melrose Abbey


Ava apparently wasn’t in the mood to draw…


but Celia was.


A photo from the grounds of Melrose Abbey.



Ava’s Edinburgh gear – ready for anything!


Preparing to trek up to the Highlands.


The Three Sisters


The surreal looking hills of the Scottish Hightands


Eileen Donan’s Castle. This place should be on everyone’ bucket list!



Portrait of Lt. Col. Gilstrap who rebuilt Eileen Donan Castle.


The Palace of Holyrood.


The ruins on the ground of the Palace of Holyrood.




The Scottish National Gallery


Rob speaking in front of a small Van Dyck at the National Portrait Gallery.


Drawing in the Scottish National Gallery.



Don pointing out a portrait of Mackintosh in the cafe.






Most of us braved the walk up to Calton Hill, overlooking Edinburgh.


Chris, Leslie, May, Mary Anne, Ruth and Don reach the top of Carlton Hill.



Calton Hill’s unfinished National Monument based on the Parthenon.


A vew from the Great Hall in the National Portrait Gallery.


Queen’s Gallery


Sir Edwin Landseer, Eos, 1841


Ava’s take on Sir Edwin Landseer’s Eos.


Leonardo Da Vinci


Ink wash drawing by Giovanni Antionio Canaletto at the Queen’s Gallery


Detail of Hans Holbein, Anne Cresacre, c.1527


Van Dyck


Detail of lace sleeve.


Detail of Rembrandt’s “Agatha Bas”


Detail of Hals’ “Portrait of a Man”


Ink wash drawing by Giovanni Antionio Canaletto at the Queen’s Gallery


Rob sketching


Time to go back to the hotel and get some hot cocoa!


Rob, Ava and Terry under the heavily fortified gatehouse entrance.


Edinburgh Castle dominates the city skyline.


Edinburgh Castle


The group making its way up from the Portrait Gallery to the castle
through sleet and wind!


Leslie drawing up in one of the castle halls with Rob, Celia and Ava


A view from the top of the castle, which at one time was the residence of the Scottish Kings and Queens,
until 1603, when they decided it was just too cold and built the Palace of Holyrood,
just down at the other end of the Royal Mile.



A view of Arthurs’s Seat from the hotel.


Bob prepared one of his wonderful, whimsical postcards to send to his grandchildren.


The group gave Rob a book personally autographed by its author Richard Ormond, Sargent’s great nephew.


 Web, Bob, Debbie and Mary Anne enjoy dinner at the Balmoral Hotel.



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