New Art Centre Reveals Scotland's Hidden Gems

By David Prudames | 21 October 2002
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the new £2 million centre - more than a mere warehouse.

Left: the new £2 million centre - more than a mere warehouse.

Edinburgh's open art archive, the Granton Centre For Art, offers the public a glimpse at some rarely seen jewels of Scotland's incredible national collection.

Over 100 people turned up to have a nose round when it first opened earlier this month and weekly tours are attracting growing numbers of art lovers keen to lay eyes on a hidden Gainsborough or Gormley.

The Heroic Dosser, Peter Howson, 1987.

Right: The Heroic Dosser, Peter Howson, 1987.

Much more than just a store, the centre is a veritable treasure trove of the weird and wonderful.

Whether too big, too small or just not in the style of particular displays in Scotland's national collections, works by some of the art world's most famous names are there for all to see.

Scotland's first purpose-built store not only holds a priceless collection, but is also used to help preserve it with the latest environmental controls.

Left: Scotland's first purpose-built store not only holds a priceless collection, but is also used to help preserve it with the latest environmental controls.

"The Granton Centre for Art provides much needed storage space for paintings, sculptures and other items in the vast collections of the National Galleries," said Scottish Culture Minister Mike Watson.

"As well as housing and protecting the collection, the centre will allow visitors to see specific works of art when they are not available in exhibitions in current galleries."

Mrs Hamilton Nisbet (1756-1834), Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88).

Right: Mrs Hamilton Nisbet (1756-1834), Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88).

"This allows the Scottish public, visitors, students and scholars much improved access to the less well-known objects in the National Galleries of Scotland collection and I hope many people will make use of it."

Weekly tours offer the chance to see, amongst other things, a giant sculpture by Jacob Epstein, too big for the average gallery, a Thomas Gainsborough and sculptures by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and Angel of the North creator Antony Gormley.

Present Time, Antony Gormley, 1987-89. Lead, fibreglass, plaster and air.

Left: Present Time, Antony Gormley, 1987-89. Lead, fibreglass, plaster and air.

But it's not just art's top names. There are all sorts of objects from classic motorbikes to massive turbines, precious porcelain and ancient pottery.

Located at 242 West Granton Road, on a site rented from the National Museums of Scotland, the £2 million centre was funded by the Scottish Executive. Tours take place twice a day, every Tuesday and are completely free.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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