Friday, August 20, 2004

Rowlings' picture sees the inside of a museum
Well it's about time! Everyone knows the saying, 'Behind every great man...'. But do women ever get the notice anyways? Well the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Queens Street is trying to do something about that. It is now (at last) celebrating the great achievements of women. The gallery will contain 100 paintings, sculptures and photographs from the 20th and 21st centuries. It is to celebrate the success of women in fields from politics, to arts, and sports. And of course, entertainment.
'Modern Women' features portraits of notable leading ladies including Dame Muriel Spark, JK Rowling, Ena Baxter, Winnie Ewing, Jean Muir, Tilda Swinton and Yvonne Murray, and photographs of women such as TV presenter Gail Porter, designer Belinda Robertson and actresses Daniella Nardini and Una McLean.
"I do joke that it is now my mission to search for women everywhere I can, but it is true," says director of the portrait gallery, James Holloway. "Already we have acquired the portraits of a number of truly fantastic women, but for historic reasons we are still a very male-dominated gallery. "Around 80 per cent of our portraits are of men because in days gone by it was mainly men who matched our criteria of being seen as successful. But we are now doing everything we can to redress this imbalance and are calling on the public to come up with the names of women they would like to see have their portrait on display."

Alongside portraits of women such as Harry Potter creator JK Rowling and Dame Muriel Spark are lesser known Edinburgh figures such as artist Phoebe Traquair, one of the leading lights of the Arts and Crafts movement, and Elsie Inglis, a doctor and pioneer of Scottish women's hospitals overseas during the First World War.
The exhibition also includes a group of photographs from the collection of the Imperial War Museum, which depict Scottish women working on the Home Front during the First World War. The photographs show rope makers, granite and cement workers, paper millers, sugar refiners and a Glasgow Corporation tram crew, all helping the war effort. So in that respect, behind every great woman...

Hats off to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. ;)

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