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18 March 2022

Explore Visionary Palaces, the spectacular designs of Karl Schinkel at Duff House

New exhibition programme at Duff House announced, starting with a display of rare designs by architect Karl Schinkel, on loan from National Galleries of Scotland.

Painting of mountain landscape scene

Duff House has reopened to visitors once more, following essential maintenance with a new exhibition Visionary Palaces: Designs by Karl Friedrich Schinkel opening today (Friday 18 March).

Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841) was one of the most brilliant, accomplished and versatile artistic figures of his generation in Germany. A celebrated architect, whose grand buildings transformed early nineteenth-century Berlin, he was also an exceptional painter and designed interiors, furniture, and stage sets.

This exhibition features examples from a group of magnificent colour lithographs based on Schinkel's last and arguably most spectacular projects: his ambitious architectural designs for two utopian royal palaces, on the landmark site of the Acropolis in Athens, and at Orianda on the Crimean coast.

Due to the great cost and ambition of the plans, sadly neither palace was built, remaining in Schinkel's own words 'nothing more than a beautiful dream'. However, he did arrange to have his spectacular presentation drawings and watercolours for the projects faithfully reproduced by leading German printmakers. The resulting series of large-scale lithographs represented not only the culmination of a most astonishing career but also mid-nineteenth century print technology at its most advanced.

This set of extremely rare prints were acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland in 1997, with the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and will be on display in the Georgian Mansion until May 2022.

Duff House’s exhibition programme continues beyond Schinkel's lithographs, with visitors in May 2022 able to explore The Ghaist Drifter and Other Tales exhibition: a landlubber's homage in paintings to the fisher folk of the North-East of Scotland. These surrealist images depict a vision of the hardships of the women folk and the little boats where fishermen bartered with God, risked their lives, and forged friendships over generations. The paintings, all related to the Moray coast, are a celebration of the vast skies, and the restless sea, its power, threat, beauty, and bounty.

From 13 May, visitors will also have the chance to view the next masterpiece: 'Sir Andrew Morison' by Richard Dadd, the latest in a series of paintings to be loaned from the collection of National Galleries of Scotland and will be on display at Duff House. In Dadd's portrait, hat in hand as if bidding farewell, Andrew Morison, a true pioneer of psychiatric medicine is depicted in front of his estate in Newhaven, North of Edinburgh.

Corinna Leenen, Collections Manager at Duff House said:

"We have a fantastic programme of exhibitions that will be on display over the coming months."

We are looking forward to being able to invite visitors back to Duff House to explore its history and attractions as well as discovering and experiencing our wider exhibitions programme from Schinkel's magnificent and rare lithographs currently on display, to the beautiful surrealist works in our upcoming exhibition: The Ghaist Drifter and Other Tales."

The Visionary Palaces exhibition will be on display from Friday 18 March to Sunday 8 May 2022 and entry to view the exhibition is included in the admission price of the guided tour of Duff House.

More on Visionary Palaces exhibition

About Duff House

Duff House is a masterpiece of baroque architecture and one of the most important buildings in the north of Scotland. It was designed in 1735 by the renowned Scottish architect William Adam and is now a five-star visitor attraction, run in partnership by Historic Environment Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council.

About Year of Stories 2022

The Year of Stories (#YS2022 #TalesOfScotland), led by VisitScotland, will be showcased throughout 2022 and will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.

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