Record

CodeNA4546
Datesc1880-
Person NameAberdeen Art Gallery; c1880-
ActivityAberdeen Art Gallery was established chiefly through the work of John Forbes White, art critic, in the 1880s. The building on Schoolhill, Aberdeen, was designed by James Matthews (1820 - 1898) and Alexander Marshall Mackenzie (1848 - 1933): Mackenzie later designed the adjoining Cowdray Hall. The principal purpose initially was to exhibit the work of the Aberdeen Artists’ Society, but under the influence of several ambitious and knowledgeable locals the gallery became much more important than that. One of the most prominent chairmen was Sir James Murray (in office 1901 to 1928) who not only gave generously himself to the gallery but also encouraged others to give both money and exhibits. The core of the collection was the gallery amassed by Alexander Macdonald, one of the city’s major granite manufacturers, who also left money for the purchase of art less than twenty-five years old. Another supporter was Sir George Reid, local artist and sometime President of the Royal Scottish Academy, who opened the new wing planned by Murray in 1905. In 1921 Alexander Webster, an Aberdeen advocate, bequeathed a large number of British watercolours and a collection of china. James McBey (1883 - 1959), a local artist, is particularly well-represented in the gallery through a donation by an American collector of his work and through money given by his widow to form a library and print room. The gallery remains on the same site today and is a popular and valuable attraction in the city.
Corporate NameAberdeen Art Gallery
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