A collection of watercolours and architectural studies by one of Scotland’s leading and most adventurous artists, David Roberts, is set to open in a new exhibition in the north east of Scotland.

David Roberts: Drawings from the Helen Guiterman Bequest, which opens tomorrow – Friday 25th March – at Duff House, in Banff, will showcase more than 30 drawings and watercolours by the Edinburgh-born artist from different periods throughout his career. Also on display will be a portrait of Roberts in Arab dress, painted by his friend and fellow Scottish artist Robert Scott Lauder.

An easel painter and talented draughtsman, Roberts is best known for his detailed architectural studies and is regarded as one of Britain’s most prolific and adventurous artists of the first half of the 19th century. Earning his reputation, he travelled extensively throughout Europe and was also amongst the very first artists to undertake a grand tour of the Near and Middle East in 1838.

This sense of adventure is demonstrated in the works which form the new Duff House exhibition. From a view of the Scottish capital’s iconic cityscape from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle to the elaborate interiors of Spain’s Seville Cathedral, the artworks on display will allow visitors to chart Roberts’ travels. The collection, which includes a number of fine Scottish views, also offers a real insight into the landscapes, historic cathedrals and buildings that inspired him throughout his painting career, which spanned around 40 years.

Commenting on the Roberts exhibition, Duff House Manager, Graeme Curran, said: “With more than 30 watercolours and intricate architectural drawings capturing the landscapes and historical buildings of Scotland and further afield, the David Roberts exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to explore the travels of this 19th century adventurer through his work.

“It’s also fitting that we should welcome this exhibition, showcasing one of the country’s leading architectural artists, as we mark Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in 2016.”

The exhibition is being shown in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland, with the majority of artworks on display being drawn from the Helen Guiterman Bequest – part of the Scottish National Gallery collection.


Charlotte Topsfield, Curator of the exhibition, added: “This exhibition will provide a fresh view into one of Scotland's leading topographical artists and most intrepid travellers. From skilful pencil studies to dramatic cathedral interiors and panoramic landscapes, the drawings and watercolours on display demonstrate Roberts' talent and versatility as an artist and his passionate interest in recording all that he saw on his travels.”

Helen Guiterman, from Bournemouth, became the leading expert on David Roberts and his works from the early 1960s. She spent over 30 years researching his life and career and amassed a large collection of his work, which was bequeathed to the Scottish National Gallery through the Art Fund in 2008.

David Roberts: Drawings from the Helen Guiterman Bequest at Duff House opens to the public on Friday 25th March and runs until Sunday 10th July 2016. This exhibition is included in the cost of admission to the House and is free for members.

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Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (IAD). Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland's position as an "innovation nation", its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners.

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