|Description||The University holds around 5,000 works of art and now comprises of a merger of the University of Edinburgh’s original Fine Art Collection, which spans some 400 years of collecting, and the Edinburgh College of Art Collection of prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture, which came into the University Art Collection in 2011 when the institutions merged. Some works in the Art Collection have been commissioned, some purchased, while others were acquired to decorate University rooms and certain collections came to the University as bequests. As a result, the collection has its own unique character.
Particularly with the addition of the Edinburgh College Art Collection, the University Art Collection is notable for an emphasis on Scottish art. This includes an extensive collection of historical and contemporary Scottish portraits featuring major historical figures and past Principals and Professors of the University. Modern Scottish art is also well represented with a significant collection, as we will see later, of works by William Johnstone and featuring pieces by many others including Joan Eardley, F.C.B. Cadell and William MacTaggart.
A large percentage of the University Art Collection is on display throughout the campus, enhancing the public, staff and student spaces. A number of works from the Torrie Collection of Dutch and Flemish masters are also on long-term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland where they are enjoyed by nearly 1 million visitors per year. The principal areas of display on campus include the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art, Old College, Playfair Library, Raeburn Room, the University of Edinburgh Library, New College, McEwan Hall and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
The Art Collection is vital as a teaching resource and is actively used in seminars and lecture programmes, both for Art History and Fine Art students. New interpretations and collaborations are sought so that collections are displayed in new and exciting ways, introducing contemporary insights to constantly reinvigorate debate, with the University community central to those conversations.
The University has been fortunate enough to have received many bequests of significant art works throughout its history. The size and circumstances of these gifts vary greatly and these stories add further richness to overall history of the Art Collection and, consequently, the collection itself is subdivided to retain the provenance of the collections and the donors who were generous enough to gift them.|