Our pick of museums and gallerires in Europe, covering some well known, as well as lesser known European museums and galleries. Museums focusing history, art and science fiction to transport, folklore and even art fakes. Galleries featuring modern and traditional art.
Kirkcubright Galleries opened in June 2018. I was keen to visit, as Kirkcubright has a reputation as an artists’ town.
I liked the wrought iron work on the gate in front of the the main entrance door.
My first impression positive. The staircase was beautiful and there was a feeling of light and space.
The first floor cafe had views over to the church opposite.
As I have a National Art Pass, I didn’t have to pay the £4 adult admission fee to see the Stars of Scotland temporary exhibition. My favourite piece was by the Scottish colourist J D Fergusson. Unfortunately, photography was not permitted in the exhibition.
The permanent collection is housed on the ground floor.
I really liked the decorated chairs by William Miles Johnstone, a bird and animal artist.
There were some gorgeous ceramics.
Peploe’s depiction of Kirkcubright is more colourful that reality.
Jessie M King, who lived in Kirkcubright, was best known for her book and magazine illustrations, but she also designed fabrics (for Liberty), jewellery and painted pottery.
Below are greetings card designed by King.
Below are two of her illustrations for Wynken, Blyken & Nod by poet Eugene Field.
There were sculptures of animals and their young by Phyllis M Bone.
Below are some photos of other exhibitions at Kirkcubright Galleries.
Kirkcubright Galleries is open on Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. On a Sunday it’s noon to 5pm. It’s free to enter, except for some temporary exhibitions. There’s plenty of free parking in Kirkcubright.
I did an online search for art galleries in Ayrshire, when planning my drive south to Dumfries and Galloway for the Arts and Crafts Trail in Kirkcubright. My search brought up the Rozelle House Galleries and the Maclaurin Gallery in Ayr.
Initially, I was a bit confused wondering if the two galleries located in different places. But they are adjacent.
Rozelle House is a former mansion house which was gifted the Royal Burgh of Ayr in the late 1960s. It then became an art gallery. In the mid 1970s, the stable block and servants quarters and became the Maclaurin Gallery.
There were plenty of parking spaces in the free car park when I arrived early on a Thursday afternoon.
I started off in the Maclaurin Gallery, which is accessed through the courtyard.
I really liked William Dick’s The Paper Works exhibition.
As it was raining, I had a rather quick look around the Sculpture Park.
Then it was back inside to the Rozelle Galleries.
There’s a Henry Moore sculpture at the bottom of the staircase.
I thought that some of the pieces by the Ayr College students in their HND Art & Design exhibition were wonderful. The young woman portrayed on the left below is constructed with jigsaw pieces.
The man on the right below was made by painting on a tapestry.
Below are photos of some of the other exhibits.
Upstairs at Rozelle, there was an exhibition of Alexander Goudie’s painting depicting Robert Burns’ Tam o’Shanter. Most didn’t appeal to me, being too dark coloured. The one I liked was of Brig o’Doon.
The basement walls outside the toilets had been painted by local young people.
I highly recommend a visit to the Rozelle Galleries and the Maclaurin Gallery in Ayr. It was free to get in and the galleries are open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and noon to 5pm on Sundays. But do check before you visit as many museums and galleries opening hours have been reduced and charges introduced to see some exhibitions, due to spending cutbacks by local authorities.
The Scottish Maritime Museum is located in Irvine on the Ayrshire coast. It’s not a state run museum, so there is an entry charge of £7.50 for adults (aged over 16), the concessionary price is £5.50. Up to three children enter free with one adult (full price or concession).
I decided to visit the Scottish Martime Museum for two reasons. It on my way to Dumfries and Galloway for the Arts and Crafts Trail in Kirkcubright and I wanted to see the Maritime Perspectives art exhibition, which was on at that time.
As I have an National Art Pass, I didn’t have to pay the entry charge. There’s a free car park in front of the museum.
There were some exhibits in the grounds of the museum.
I spent most time in the Maritime Perspectives art exhibition, in which you weren’t permitted to take photos.
The art theme continued in the museum. The ‘Propping Through Riverside’ architectural installation, a collaboration between an artist and an architect, illustrates the processes, techniques and construction methods used on the River Clyde.
I was interested to ready about George Wyllie’s ‘QM’ installation. His 80 foot long paper boat, lamenting the loss of heavy industry in the west of Scotland, toured the world for seven years, before being dismantled.
The last remaining piece of the installation is displayed in the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.
Tom McKendrick’s ‘Hole Borer’ installation is a altar dedicated to the trades and mythologies of the shipbuilding industry.
I liked the posters for ferry trips.
The museum in Irvine is housed in the Victorian glass roofed Linthouse, the former Engine Shop of Alexander Stephen and Sons shipyard in Govan in Glasgow. The building was dismantled and rebuilt in Irvine. This vast building is very appropriate for the large industrial exhibits.
The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine makes a good effort to engage young visitors. There is a wardrobe full of clothes for dressing up in period custume.
You can also try your hand at various nautical knots.
The models of ships were very intricate.
I believe that visitors interested in engineering, seafaring and industrial heritage would get a lot out of the Scottish Maritime Museum than me.
At present, the Paisley Thread Museum is located in Abbey Mill Business Park.
You can park free of charge in the business park when visiting the Paisley Thread Mill Museum. But you must give the receptionist the registration number of your car, or you may receive a penalty notice from private car parking firm which monitors the car park.
The Paisley Thread Mill Museum exhibits are spread out over the foyer and the first floor mezzanine and corridor.
I loved the installation on the ceiling of the lobby at Abbey Mill, which consisted of hundreds of spools of thread of every colour and shade.
There are also a couple of machines from the former thread factory in the lobby.
There is a mural on the wall opposite the mezzanine level.
On the mezzanine level, there are several glass cabinets pictured below.
In the corridor, there are some more glass cases, predominantly filled with more reels of every imaginable colour of thread.
It appears that you can visit the museum during the opening hours of the Abbey Mill Business Park. However, the museum is staffed by local volunteers on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 3pm. In my opinion, you get more out of your visit to Paisley Thread Museums if you visit when a volunteer is in attendance.
I visited the V&A Dundee in mid October 2018, around three weeks after the museum opened. As a Dundonian, I was expecting great things of the V&A Dundee.
I’d seen the construction progress during visits to the city over the last couple of years. I thought that the building looked like a large dark ship jutting out on the Tay Estuary. I really liked it.
It was cloudy morning, with heavy rain forecast for later, when I arrived in Dundee. Therefore, I started off my visit with a good walk around the exterior of the V&A Dundee, in the hope of avoiding the heavy rain.
However, as I looked at the building close up, I wasn’t so impressed. It appears to be constructed mainly with concrete. You can see the large steel brackets which secure the concrete slabs at an angle.
My disappointment continued inside the V&A Dundee. There was so much space, but so little to see (free of charge). There was the Ocean Liners exhibition, but as it cost £12 for adult entry. I didn’t go in.
On the ground floor, there was an information/ticket desk, a gift shop and a cafe. The cafe become really busy during my visit. There weren’t enough tables and chairs, customers were having to take their drinks and snacks over to the seating at the bottom of the walls.
With a southerly aspect on an estuary, I expected great views from the museum. But no, there were only some letter box style windows, most of them located well above eye level. Surely, particularly in Scotland, you’d want to let as much natural light as possible into a building?
The best part of top floor which had large windows with views to the estuary and the adjacent Discovery Point, was a restaurant and bar. We attempted to go there for a coffee, but were told that the tables were reserved for those having a meal. So much for the architects claim of of the V&A Dundee being a living room for the city.
Now I reckon that you could easily see the free sections of the V&A Dundee, both located on the top floor, in under one hour
There was an exhibition called the Scottish Design Relay on the landing. Young people throughout Scotland were challenged to co-design a new object, service or artwork.
There was a queue to enter the Design Galleries. There were interesting exhibits such as the Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room, some tapestries, clothing and an interactive display on wellie construction.
I liked Ciara Phillip’s ‘This, looped’ installation beside the queuing area for the Design Galleries.
I thought that some of the best views of the exterior of V&A Dundee were from the adjacent Discovery Point. I was able to enter Discover Point free of charge using my National Art Pass.
My recommendation would be to go into the V&A Dundee when it’s quieter. Either early, arriving at the opening time of 10am, or arriving later around 4pm. There is plenty else to see and do on a trip to Dundee. I recommend the Mcmanus Galleries, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Discovery Point.
With a price tag of £80m, the V&A Dundee should have wowed me. I don’t even blame the architect Kengo Kuma. Architects have their flights of fancy. It was up to the client to say ‘hold on a minute, where are the windows, to let in natural light and expose the views, and the space for the exhibits’? In my opinion, in design terms, as public space, and a as a museum, the building is a total flop. Looking good from a distance is not as important as the interior fulfilling its purpose.
Although I’ve visited St Arbroath many times, but I’d never been to St Vigeans before. The first thing that you seen when your drive into the village is the red church on the mound. There is free on street parking and a large car park at the end of the road by the church hall.
As I arrived during a dry spell on a showery day, I thought that I should have a walk up to church, where there were some interesting gravestones.
The museum is housed a terraced cottage in the main street.
I didn’t have sufficient interest or time, as I was heading to an art workshop at Hospitalfield, to read all the information about the carved stones, but I was impressed by the quality of the workmanship.
The St Vigeans Carved Stones Museum is usually only open by appointment. The next open day is Saturday 29 September 2018.
I love fabrics, which is one of the reasons that I enjoying creating collages. I was really looking forward to seeing the Liberty Art Fabric & Fashion exhibition, and I was not disappointed.
I loved the Liberty fabric shoes.
The embroidery on the Art Nouveau style dresses was beautiful.
Admission prices are £9 for adults, £7 for students and unwaged, under 16s are free (but must be accompanied by an adult). Dovecoat Studios is open daily from 10.30 to 5.30pm during August. For the rest of the exhibition, the studios are closed on Sundays.
The first thing which I observed upon entering the Talbot Rice gallery was that there was so much more light coming in. That’s because the gallery windows had been opened up.
I really liked the flora and fauna inspired paintings in the Green Man exhibition.
It’s free to see the the Green Man exhibition by Lucy Skaer. During July and August the Talbot Rice gallery is open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 5p. But during September the gallery is shut on Sundays.
I’d been intending to visit the Art of Glass exhibition for a while. I did pop into the National Museum of Scotland one day before meeting our son for lunch, but I couldn’t find the exhibition. It’s on the third floor in the new extension.
My favourite exhibit was the Glass Cyphers installation by Griet Beyaert and Paul Miller.
Below are more photos of the Art of Glass exhibition.
It’s free to get into the Art of Glass exhibition. The National Museum of Scotland is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) is hosting the first major exhibition in Europe of work of the American artist Eve Fowler.
The work is influenced by the American writer Gertrude Stein. Many of the pieces are text.
There is also a film by Eve Fowler, with it which it as if it is to be. The film features female artists based in New York and LA, filmed creating their work. There is a soundtrack of various female voices reading from Stein’s Many Many Women.
The exhibition is not the most accessible to those not into contemporary art. But I like to give different types of art, which might not initially appeal to me, a try.
The exhibition is free to enter and runs until 26 August 2018. It’s open daily from 10am to 6pm, with late opening until 8pm on a Thursday.