Institut Français Écosse

On January 31st 2020, our student PG MA/MFA Illustration group had an exhibition at the French Institute on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. The exhibition was part of an introduction to the Intitute’s ‘Night of Ideas’ series of talks.

The work I produced for this event was based on characters from Edinburgh’s High Street, specifically, James Boswell, David Hume, Alan Ramsay (the poet) and Robert Fergusson.

Images below – From left to right their titles are:

‘London comes to Boswell’, gouache and charcoal on plywood 48x20cm. Boswell returns to his flat, which he rented from David Hume, only to find that Underbelly has taken over the High Street and rented his flat out to Airbnb.

‘Hume-iliated’ gouache and charcoal on birch plywood 34x20cm. The story of David Hume’s ill fated journey through the drained Nor’ Loch to visit his newly built house on South St David’s Street, where he falls into the mud and is rescued by an old woman who castigates him for being a heathen and demands he resite the lords prayer before helping him.

‘Toap tae Boatam’ gouache and charcoal on plywood 35x20cm. Alan Ramsay’s wig shop was about half way down the Royal Mile, approximately opposite to the top of Niddry Street. He had an Octaganal house built on Castle hill which was later extended by Patrick Geddes. Robert Fergusson’s died in Bedlam and was laid to rest in Canongate Kirk yard and given a memorial headstone by Robert Burns. Both he and Alan Ramsay wrote poems in Scots dialect. It is a curious thing to think that many noblemen of that age may have spoke in what we regard now as slang Scots in contrast to todays standards of upper class Scots speech.