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Art Gallery Aberdeen

Information about the Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall in Aberdeen with exhibits, exhibitions, entry times, facilities and a history of the building:

Art Gallery Aberdeen The Art Gallery Aberdeen was designed by Aberdonian architect Alexander Marshall McKenzie. It opened in 1885 and has housed many fine examples of artwork, paintings, sculpture, exhibitions and fine collections which change every month, bringing new art to Aberdeen City and Shire.

Art Collections include modern art and art from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries.

Regular exhibitions include a well preserved Corinthian Helmet.

There is access to the James McBey Art Reference Library.

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Cowdray Hall

The Cowdray Hall in Aberdeen is annexed through the Art Gallery. It contains a book of condolence to the Piper Alpha Oilrig Disaster of 1988 and books of remembrance to World War One and Two.

There are often musical recitals at The Cowdray Hall.

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For the first time in the history of Aberdeen Art Gallery it closed to allow an exhibition to be installed. This happened in August 2009 whilst the art work of artist Ron Mueck was put into place due to its scale and the need for lifting equipment. This included his works entitled Wildman and Mask III.

2009 Art Gallery Exhibitions

Listed below are the 2009 Art Gallery Exhibitions:

Wednesday 27 May FORMED: WHAT MAKES APPLIED ART - A talk by Kate Gillespie, Assistant Keeper (Applied Art). Admission free at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

2– 30 May - ABERDEEN ARTISTS SOCIETY 75TH ANNUAL EXHIBITION Annual "open" exhibition, supported by Shell, provides professional, established, amateur and emerging artists with a platform to show an exciting range of work including painting, sculpture, printmaking, jewellery, textiles and film at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

18 February – 23 May -JOHN BELLANY – PRINTS AND WATERCOLOURS: Prints and watercolours by the renowned Scottish artist John Bellany ranging from his famous hospital scenes of the 1980s to examples from suites of prints made at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen. At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Wednesday 13 May 12.30-1pm ABERDEEN ARTISTS SOCIETY - Andy Dewar, Society President Admission free at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

13 May – 5 September THE TARTAN LENS - A selection of prints by George Washington Wilson, one of the earliest commercial photographers, selected by Dr Tom Normand of St Andrews University at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Wednesday 29 April 12.30-1pm - PORTRAITURE AND THE ART OF REMEMBRANCE - Griffin Co, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art) at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Wednesday 22 April 12.30-1pm TRACING FAMILY MEMBERS THROUGH MARITIME RECORDS - A talk by Meredith Greiling, Assistant Keeper (Maritime History) Admission free. Booking essential on 01224 337714 At Aberdeen Maritime Museum.

Wednesday 8 April 12.30-1pm - JOHN BELLANY - A Talk by Olga Ferguson, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art) Admission free at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

14 February until 11 April Zig-Zag: The Paths of Robert Burns exhibition as part of the Homecoming 2009 events at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national bard with 36,000 objects from Scotland's national collections about Robert Burns. Organised by the National Burns Collection as part of Homecoming Scotland 2009.

1 April onwards - A COLLECTION OF DRESSES BY DAVID ALLAN MOSTLY FROM NATURE - 18th century album of watercolours by Scottish artist David Allan displayed alongside new digital images of the entire volume at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Tuesdays 20 January - 17 March 2009 - INTRODUCTION TO THE COLLECTIONS: Take a guided tour through Aberdeen Art Gallery’s Collections with the Fiona Fair, Lifelong Learning Officer and work with local artists to create your own work based on both the Applied and Fine Art Collections. 10:30am-12:30pm. £70 (concession £60) Advance Booking through WhiteSpace Tel 01224 523640 At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Wednesday 18 March 12.30-1pm - Robert Burns Muse, Highland Mary - A talk by Jennifer Melville, Keeper (Fine Art). Admission free at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

6 December 2008 - 14 March 2009 - TAIDOLLA: A perfect show for Christmas, Taidolla gives a broad overview of contemporary Finnish silversmithing, illustrating the versatile nature of silver, designers’ own visions and the high quality of traditional craftsmanship. At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Friday 27 February 2009 - COLLECTING CONTEMPORARY ART: A talk by Jennifer Melville, Keeper (Fine Art) 12.30-12.45pm Admission free At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Until 14 February 2009 - My Heart’s in the Highlands - A display of 19th century watercolour paintings by Scottish, English and foreign artists. Through their understanding of romantic art and literature, they developed an appreciation for the rugged and dramatic scenery of the Highlands. At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Friday 30 January 2009 - ART AND FRIENDS : THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP: A talk by Griffin Co, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art) 12.45-1.00pm Admission free At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

29 November 2008 - 24 January 2009 - BP Portrait Award 2008 - One of world’s most prestigious art prizes – makes a welcome return to Aberdeen for its only Scottish showing. Encouraging artists to focus on and develop portraiture, the Award recognises outstanding and innovative work currently being produced. Also on display is the BP Travel Award. A National Portrait Gallery Touring Exhibition. Supported by BP. At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Friday 19 December 2008 - The Scots In Spain: A talk on Scottish artists who travelled to Spain, by Ann Steed, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art) 12.30-12.45pm Admission free At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

12 - 15 December 2008 - JOLOMO at Aberdeen Art Gallery: An opportunity to view and purchase new work by one of Scotland’s most prolific and successful artists, John Lowrie Morrison, in aid of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and sponsored by KPMG Aberdeen. At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

13 September until 15 November 2008 - Children in Conflict - A provocative, groundbreaking exhibition which brings together work by high-profile contemporary artists who have responded to the theme of conflict and the devastating effect that it has on children worldwide. It also features a series of new paintings by renowned war artist John Keane, who was commissioned to travel to Angola by Christian Aid. A Wolverhampton Art Gallery Touring Exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Until 18 October - Barbara Rae - Prints by this master of colour and honorary graduate of the University of Aberdeen at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Until 27 September 2008 - Silver of the Stars - International celebrities Nicola Benedetti, Robbie Coltrane, Sir Sean Connery, Billy Connelly, Lulu, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Ewan McGregor,, Alexander McQueen, Ian Rankin and Sharleen Spiteri are the inspiration behind this stunning exhibition of work by Scottish silversmiths. Each celebrity paired up with a silversmith to collaborate on the design for a piece of silver on the most beautiful moment, a drink with a friend. The result is a hugely varied collection of drinking vessels that range from absinthe goblets to teapots to claret jugs. Silver of the Stars was created by The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh. At Aberdeen Art Gallery.

4 - 21 September 2008 - Images of Regensburg - Stunning images of Regensburg, one of Aberdeen's twin cities, taken by a group of four who visited the city this year as part of a cultural exchange programme. An Arts Development Project supported by the Common Good Fund, Aberdeen College and Regensburg Volkschochschulen.

Friday 29 August 2008 - free lunchtime talk - Surrealism by Jennifer Melville, Keeper (Fine Art) at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12:30 to 12:45pm.

Thursday 21 August 2008 free lunchtime talk - Arts and Crafts Ceramics - The Bough and Mak’merry Studios by Kate Gillespie, Assistant Keeper (Applied Art) at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12:30 to 1pm.

14 June - 23 August 2008 - Hand, Heart and Soul The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland - Aberdeen Art Gallery’s major summer exhibition is a celebration of Arts and Crafts practice across Scotland between 1880 and 1939. This show goes beyond well-known names such as Edinburgh’s Phoebe Traquair and leader of the ‘Glasgow Style’, Charles Rennie Mackintosh to explore a nationwide flowering of creative talent. Based on the book by Dr Elizabeth Cumming, the exhibition features jewellery, metalwork, furniture, ceramics, glass, textiles, and architectural designs. A City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries touring exhibition, supported by the EsmÈe Fairbairn Foundation through its Regional Museums Initiative.

10 May to 2 August 2008 - My Ladye Nevells Booke at Aberdeen Art Gallery - Aberdeen Art Gallery is delighted to host the first showing in Scotland of My Ladye Nevells Booke, one of the most beautifully written music manuscripts to survive from the late 16th century. Still preserved in its original ornate binding, it contains 42 pieces for keyboard by William Byrd, the greatest English composer of his age, and was painstakingly compiled by the Windsor-based scribe John Baldwin, who completed work on it on 11 September 1591. Exhibited in collaboration with the British Library and the University of Aberdeen Music Department.

19 April to 26 July - Ralph Steadman at Aberdeen Art Gallery - To coincide with the University of Aberdeen's WORD Festival this display offers an opportunity to see the witty series of etchings of famous authors created by the world renowned artist and illustrator Ralph Steadman including Virginia Wolf, Samuel Beckett and Hunter S. Thompson.

Thursday 17 July free lunchtime talk - Phoebe Anna Traquair - The Arts and Crafts Movement by Kate Gillespie, Assistant Keeper (Applied Art) at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12:30 to 1pm.

Tuesday 24 June - Lunchtime talk - Early 20th Century Painters: James Dickson Innes, Derwent Lees, Augustus John. By Olga Ferguson, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art) at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12:30 to 1pm.

3 to 31 May 2008 - Aberdeen Artist’s Society 74th Annual Exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery - This major annual "open" exhibition provides professional, established, amateur and emerging artists with a platform to show an exciting range of work including painting, sculpture, printmaking, jewellery, textiles and film. Shell U.K. Limited continues its support for the event with artists’ awards of £7,000. Exhibition entry forms are available from the Gallery shop or by contacting Carole Murray on 01224 322531. Handing in days for submitted work are Wednesday 16 April 10.30am - 4.30pm, 17 April 10.30am - 7.30pm

Friday 30 May 2008 - The Art of the St Ives Group at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12.30 to 12.45pm. A look at work by Alfred Wallis, Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Christopher Wood.

Saturday 3 May 10am - 4.30pm, Sunday 4 May 2 - 4.30pm and Monday 5 May 10am - 4.30pm: Show Scotland Art Idol at Aberdeen Art Gallery - Come along for a weekend of reality TV-themed fun! Members of the Art Gallery team will pick their favourite pieces from their stores and campaign for your vote to have them put on display. Create your own artwork and submit it for assessment by an expert panel and have it displayed in the Art Gallery. And join members of our behind-the-scenes team to find out what makes the Gallery tick. Aberdeen Art Gallery will be taking bookings for the behind-the-scenes tours from April 14th. Please call 523700 for more information and to book your free place.

Friday 25 April - Camden Town Painters: An informal talk on the art of the Camden Town painters, including W.R. Sickert, S.F. Gore, R.B. Bevan, Harold Gilman and Augustus John at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12.30-12.45pm.

9 February to 12 April 2008 - The Cutting Edge: Scotland’s Contemporary Crafts at the Art Gallery Aberdeen - Scotland is a leader in craft practice and this stunning exhibition showcases the most exciting and innovative of craftwork by thirty makers. Featured are silverwork, ceramics, jewellery, glass, textiles, basketry, furniture and metalwork with pieces by Malcolm Appleby, Mark Devlin, Jan Milne, Helen McPherson, Sarah Taylor, Keiko Mukaide, and Jack Cunningham. The exhibition is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council, East Ayrshire Council, Glasgow City Council and National Museums Scotland and is supported by the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery Fund.

Until 12 April 08 - Modern Masters of Printmaking at the Art Gallery Aberdeen - A selection of outstanding works by 20th century masters including Lucien Freud, Victor Pasmore, Kathe Kollowitz, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash and Serge Poliakoff.

9 January to 12 April 2008 - Modern Masters of Printmaking at the Aberdeen Art Gallery. This exhibition is the outstanding works by 20th century masters including Victor Pasmore, Kathe Kollowitz, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash and Serge Poliakoff.

Friday 28 March 08 - Surrealism: Dreamlike visions by English surrealist artists and their Scottish counterparts Edward Baird and James Cowie, are discussed in this informal tour of the collections at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12.30-12.45pm.

Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 March 2008 - On the Edge (Crafts for Kids): Experience Scotland's contemporary crafts at the fun craft based workshops and major exhibition, The Cutting Edge, at Aberdeen Art Gallery - from 10:30am - 12:30pm (9 -12 years) and 1:30 - 3:30pm (5 - 8 years). Booking is essential – phone WhiteSpace (01224) 523640. Costs £30 (£25 concession).

Tuesday 26 February, 12.30-12.45pm lunch time talk by John William Waterhouse - at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Admission is free. Olga Ferguson, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art), discusses two works by the Edwardian artist John William Waterhouse, Danaides and Penelope and her Suitors.

Friday 25 January, 12.30-12.45pm, Scotland and Venice 2007 lunchtime talk at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Admission is free. Jennifer Melville Keeper (Fine Art) gives a guided tour of Scotland and Venice 2007.

From 1 December 2007 to 27 January 2008 - Scotland and Venice 2007 at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Six of Scotland’s most exciting and innovate artists have been selected to represent the country at the world’s most important showcase for contemporary art. This year’s 52nd Venice Biennale will present their homecoming exhibition, Scotland and Venice 2007 at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Scotland and Venice 2007 is a collaboration between the Scottish Arts Council, British Council and National Galleries of Scotland. The exhibition in Aberdeen is a partnership between Scotland and Venice 2007 and Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums and is supported by the Aberdeen City Council - City Growth Fund. More information can be read at

Until 27 January 2008 - AndersonMacgee: The Melancholy Thistle and Other Works. Briony Anderson and Paul Macgee’s intervention takes the form of a thematically curated exhibition drawn from works in the Gallery's permanent collections and shown 'embedded' within the current displays at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Land of the Samurai -Aberdeen’s Japanese Treasures

Aberdeen Art Gallery From the 16 June to 18 August 2007 Aberdeen Art Gallery will host the exhibition Land of the Samurai - Aberdeen’s Japanese Treasures. Land of the Samurai celebrates the rich and varied collections of Japanese treasures held in public and private collections in Aberdeen. This major summer exhibition covers the period when Japan opened up to the west and examines how Japanese art and artefacts came to transform western aesthetics and even played a fundamental part in the arrival of modern art. It continues the story up the present day with a variety of exhibits that show the continuing influence of Japan on the west. A lavishly illustrated book accompanies the exhibition. The exhibition is supported by the City Growth Fund, Energising Aberdeen and funding from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Extreme North - On Norwegian Design and Architecture

Until 12 August 2007 Aberdeen Art Gallery host the exhibition Extreme North - On Norwegian Design and Architecture. It is presented by the Six Cities Design Festival Extreme North and reveals how innovative and functional Norwegian design makes it possible to live in the harsh climates of the far north. The exhibition covers every aspect of design, from the weather-resistant fashions of designers such as award-winning Rett og Slett and 3rd Hand, to sustainable architecture that merges with the countryside, such as the S·mi Parliament, evoking its surrounding snowy mountain caps. Extreme North will capture your imagination and show that there is more to good Norwegian design than strong visual appeal. An exhibition by Norsk From and the Norwegian Design Council in association with Aberdeen Art Gallery. Sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ailsa McWilliam - Reaction: Mild to Severe

Until 8 September Aberdeen Art Gallery host the exhibition Ailsa McWilliam - Reaction: Mild to Severe. The James McBey Award was established by Marguerite McBey, the widow of local artist James McBey (1883-1959). She wanted to help artists to travel, as her husband had done, in order to be inspired by foreign lands and their peoples. For Ailsa McWilliam this provided the opportunity to accept an invitation to live and work in Queensland, Australia. During her stay McWilliam experienced all the vagaries of Australian weather and wildlife: a cyclone, floods and her home and studio visited by snakes and deadly spiders. The work displayed in this show reveals how such experiences inspired her to create work with a distinctly Australian character. As well as creating some outstanding work of her own during the visit, McWilliam also helped local Aboriginal women to screenprint. Some of their work is shown alongside hers in this display. The exhibition is made possible with the financial assistance of the Gray's Aberdeen Visual Artists Award Scheme.

From 21 September 2007- Woven: Superb examples of woven textiles and tapestries from the Collections, including tapestry by Jo Barker and Archie Brennan, a former artistic director of the Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh.

Free Talks At Aberdeen Arts Centre

Ian Hamilton Finlay

On Friday 29th June 2007 Ann Steed, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art), will give a talk on artist Ian Hamilton Finlay at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12.30-12.45pm. Admission is free.

Land of the Samurai, Aberdeen’s Japanese Treasures

On Friday 27th July 2007 Jennifer Melville, Keeper (Fine Art), will give a guided tour of the Land of the Samurai, Aberdeen’s Japanese Treasures exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12.30-1pm. Admission is free.


On Friday 31 August Emily Hope Thomson, Assistant Keeper (Fine Art), discusses Ploughing by Sir George Clausen at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 12.30-12.45pm. Admission is free.

Until 8 September Aberdeen Art Gallery host the exhibition Ailsa McWilliam - Reaction: Mild to Severe.

15 September 2007 to 5 January 2008 - James McBey in Venice. Display of Venice prints from the permanent collection shows how Aberdeen artist James McBey masterfully used the medium of etching to evoke atmospheric scenes of that special city at Aberdeen Art Gallery

From 1 September to 31 December 2007 - Artist Adventurers. Selection of drawings and watercolours ranging from the early 1800s to the beginning of the following century including works by David Wilkie, John Phillip, Arthur Melville and John Singer Sargent at Aberdeen Art Gallery.


Admission is free to Aberdeen Art Gallery. Aberdeen Art Gallery is closed on a Monday and open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm and Sunday 2.00pm - 5.00pm.

There are some steep stairs to climb to get to some exhibits and disabled visitors can use the lift which can be accessed by asking a security guard or member of staff. People using the lift have to be escorted for health and safety reasons. There is disabled access throughout the spacious displays and ramps to enter the building.

A cafe, visitor's shop and toilets can be found on the ground floor.

The easiest car park to use is at the Bon Accord Centre. Walk through the Bon Accord Centre and turn right at the exit. Walk up the hill past The Forbidden Planet Bookshop and Boots The Chemist. Follow the path round to get to the Art Gallery.

Contact Address Details For Aberdeen Art Gallery

Aberdeen Art Gallery
AB10 1FQ

Telephone: (01224) 523700

Web site:

More Aberdeenshire Museums.

2006 Art Gallery Exhibitions

There were 207,996 visitors to Aberdeen Art Gallery in 2006.

9 September - 11 November: William Dyce and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision - In his own day Aberdeen born artist William Dyce was regarded as one of the most significant artists working in Victorian Britain and is remembered as an early champion of the younger generation of Pre-Raphaelite artists. This exhibition will celebrate the immensely appealing work of this outstanding Scottish artist. Held in the bicentenary of his birth, it brings together the City’s substantial holdings of Dyce’s work and shows them alongside many important paintings borrowed from public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Academy, London. As well as looking at Dyce’s remarkable Pre-Raphaelite paintings; landscapes and religious paintings, the exhibition will also examine other aspects of his output – his early portraits and his fresco paintings, especially those that he did for the Houses of Parliament. A full colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Supported by the friends of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums and the Energising Aberdeen Fund.

30 September to 27 January 2007 - Magnificent One Hundred Years of HMT Aberdeen - His Majesty’s Theatre opened its doors for the first time on December 3rd 1906. It was hailed ‘Magnificent’ by the local press and being the start of the festive season Little Red Riding Hood took centre stage. In the hundred years since then HMT has been witness to many changes. Cinema, radio, television arrived to challenge live theatre but HMT fought back and when many others theatres were closing it continued to survive. This exhibition takes a nostalgic look at its magnificent history. It celebrates performers, management and employees, all who contributed to keeping entertainment and live theatre healthy in Aberdeen.

7 October to 25 November - A Scottish Celebration Contemporary Textiles for the Centenary of the Embroiderers Guild - Embroidery is one of the most popular crafts in the country, with some 4 million practitioners and followers. The Embroiderers Guild and its countrywide network of branches, ensure that the skills of the craft are kept alive and its importance as a contemporary art form and an historical decorative art, is highlighted. Aberdeen Art Gallery is pleased to show a selection of Scottish members work touring in exhibition in celebration of the craft and the centenary of the Guild.

In 2006 Commonwealth double gold swimming winner David Carry allowed his hometown to display his two gold and one silver medals along with his Commonwealth Games memorabilia. Read more about David Carry.

Watercolours by Kenneth M Sibley.

June - August 2006 - Ten Drawings By Leonardo da Vinci.

Ian Fleming - The Creation Suite. A former Head of Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen. This display, called In The Beginning Was The Word, consisted of 15 of his etchings illustrating Bible verses which described Creation.

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