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Edinburgh College of Art Collection

TitleEdinburgh College of Art Collection
DescriptionThe Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) Collection comprises of a diversity of subjects and genres, including painting, sculpture, film, animation, textiles and jewellery. The largest of the collections is the Drawing & Painting Collection which contains approximately 2,000 items, primarily ex-student work. The collection was amalgamated with the University of Edinburgh Art Collection when ECA and The University of Edinburgh merged in 2012. Although the objective of establishing such a collection was an affirmed institutional objective at the point of establishment in 1908, the range of challenges encountered in the early years of the College was such that the mention of beginning to collect student works in earnest, including prize-winning paintings and the output of recipients of travel scholarships, does not occur in the Edinburgh College of Art Prospectus until the 1914–1915 session. Although work was collected from this date onwards, the majority of the items remaining in the collection were produced in the second half of the 20th century. The collection contains a number of significant formative works by artists such as Bellany, Blackadder, Houston, Redpath and Michie. The collection also contains works by ECA staff, such as Davie and Gillies. The ECA Cast Collection comprises of 265 plaster casts of Antique, Renaissance, and Gothic statues, bas reliefs, and architectural passages held at the ECA and the University of Edinburgh. The plaster casts at ECA are displayed in an A-listed building, including a beautiful neo-Classical sculpture court specifically designed to house the casts of the Parthenon frieze – works donated directly by Lord Elgin especially for the education of artists in Scotland. The collection of plaster casts was originally collected for the former Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh – the first public school of art in Britain, founded in 1760 – was acquired in the late 18th and early 19th century for the training of fine artists in Scotland. The collection was eventually transferred to ECA in 1911 on condition that it remained open to the public, as it still is today. A smaller group of pieces that were sold off in 1838 are now part of the teaching collection of the Classics Department of the University of Edinburgh. The first printed catalogue dates from 1837 and was reissued four times up to 1904. The ECA Cast Collection is one of the finest in the world and still plays an active part in the education of students at the College.
Custodial HistoryThe Edinburgh College of Art Collection merged with the original University of Edinburgh Fine Art Collection in 2013 to create the University of Edinburgh Art Collection.
Parent Collection The University of Edinburgh Art Collection