Monday, 12 November 2012

Fleming Collection: Leslie Hunter - A Life in Colour

9th November 2012

The Fleming Collection has a wide range of Scottish art and I visited the gallery a few weeks ago to familiarise myself with the permanent collection and the exhibition schedule.  I was guided round by Sophie and Helen and we spent some time on the Scottish Colourists as I had just returned from Edinburgh where a major exhibition on Leslie Hunter was on show in the City Art Centre in the old Fruitmarket. (

This exhibition has now been set up in the Fleming Gallery in London W1. (Green Park Underground nearest station)   (

In Edinburgh, the exhibition was on two floors of the City Arts Centre.  This is a fairly large space and so the exhibition had a wider selection of Leslie Hunter works on show.  The exhibition at the Fleming Gallery is more intimate.  It too is housed over two floors, the ground floor and the lower ground. 

On the ground floor there is some natural light and as we visited at about 4pm it was still light outside.  The colours of Hunter’s work really stand out and the ground floor works are very well presented.  My favourite pictures of Largo, Ceres, Balloch, Juan les Pins, Etaples and some of the still life paintings were even more attractive second time round.  I noticed this with the Picasso exhibition which I had visited once in London and once in Edinburgh. 

The pictures are not large enough to get lost in.  Nancy took some photographs of me with a few of the Hunter works using my friend’s camera and her own.  Nancy also sent me gallery images and picture labels for use on my blog.

Leslie Hunter Ceres, Fife 1923-24, oil on canvas
The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation

Leslie Hunter Lower Largo 1919, oil on panel
The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation
Leslie Hunter Peonies in a Chinese Vase 1925, oil on board
The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation

For an idea of the sizes, some photographs of me were taken in the gallery with the views of Fife, Ceres and Largo.  In the picture below, I’m standing on the left hand side and next to me is a painting of Ceres Mill, in Fife (c1923), next to this are two smaller paintings: the one on the top shows a beach scene in Largo and the one below Fife cottages; finally, on the far right is a painting of Ceres Church in Fife. 

Prof Whitestick by four paintings by Leslie Hunter
Fleming Gallery
November 2012 

During the summer, I visited Ceres, Largo and Balloch (Loch Lomond) and I posted some pictures of these on the Leslie Hunter post.  Below are a couple more photographs taken during that visit.

Ceres Church, Fife
August 2012 

Lower Largo
August 2012

Nancy also took photographs of the Etaples paintings.  The photographs below shows two of these paintings.  The first is titled The beach party, Etaples, 1914, and shows from left a man dressed in black sitting on a deck chair (straw hat on head!), next to him is a woman on a deck chair and from the centre moving to the right is a group of 4-5 people, all with their backs to us.
Leslie Hunter The beach party, Etaples, 1914

The second photograph is of a painting titled Apres-midi, Beau Rivage, Etaples, showing from left a group of three women with their backs to us, two are sitting, one is standing and on the far right almost off the picture is a man in a black suit and hat sitting by a window.


Leslie Hunter Apres-midi, Beau Rivage, Etaples 
On the lower ground floor, the exhibition continues with the Leslie Hunter works including his palette, a copy of his published work and various prints, including prints of San Francisco and illustrations for stories in magazines.  This is artificially lit.  By the time we went upstairs it was dark outside, so we went round the ground floor again!   These pictures do deserve a “look” in both lights.  The colours are outstanding. 

There are postcards and greeting cards on sale and various books on both Leslie Hunter and the other Scottish Colourists.  The recently published biography of Leslie Hunter by Bill Smith and Jill Marriner is also available.   

I had enjoyed my visit before with Helen and Sophie when we discussed the Jock McFadyen exhibition.  This had some stage designs for The Judas Tree ballet as well as some large paintings.  Sophie had taken me round at that time.  A pdf document on Jock McFadyen’s work can be downloaded from this link:

The upstairs gallery has the permanent collection, which includes portraits of the Fleming family, including Ian Fleming, the author, and many Scottish paintings.

Many thanks to the Fleming Gallery for passing on tips.  Nancy had told me of an exhibition of the works of Peploe at the Portland Gallery.  

More information on the Fleming Collection can be found on their website: