An Eclectic Eye: The Dorothie Hewlett Collection

Art lover and collector Dorothie Hewlett – known as Dickie – died in October 2011 and it was her wish that her remarkable art collection return to her Scottish childhood home.  This new exhibition at Gracefield Gallery 1 in Dumfries will show the complete bequest to Gracefield’s Permanent Art Collection for the first time and features over fifty fascinating drawings, paintings and original prints and two small sculptures.

Born in South Africa, Dorothie was raised at Kelton House on the banks of the River Nith near Dumfries. After studying at the Edinburgh College of Art, she worked during the Second World War for Rolls-Royce Aero Engines in Glasgow, making drawings for the Merlin engine which was to power the Spitfire.

Dickie’s practice and appreciation of art continued throughout her life and it was always a source of great pleasure to her.  She and husband Roy began to assemble this collection of lithographs, oils, etchings and watercolours in the 1960s. Many of the works are by leading Scottish artists such as Sir William Gillies, William Gear, Elizabeth Blackadder, Sir Robin Philipson, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and Joan Eardley, with the rest of the collection a reflection of the collectors’ taste featuring fascinating prints by Picasso, Matisse, Braques and Miro.

“Collecting Art is like a drug. It is both intensely pleasurable and highly addictive” — Norman Rosenthal

In these times of shrinking budgets, local art collections like Gracefield are becoming more dependent on the generosity of collectors to keep their art collections fresh and relevant.  This important collection of work offers the chance to see in public, artworks which would not otherwise be affordable or accessible.  It is a credit to Mrs Hewlett and her family that she chose a Scottish home for the works when they could easily have graced a collection such as that of the Tate or the National Galleries.

Exhibition opening celebration – Friday 1 March 7-9pm  Join Arts Officer, Dawn Henderby and Amanda Herries of the Public Catalogue Foundation for a guided talk around the exhibition and a discussion of the importance of philanthropy for public collections

The exhibition continues until 18th May, admission free,  at Gracefield Arts Centre, 28 Edinburgh Road, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm.

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