Talbot Rice Gallery

Rediscover: The Torrie Collection

28 May - 5 June 2016




Now in its second year, Rediscover gives History of Art postgraduate students the opportunity to put their original research and knowledge into practice to produce thought-provoking displays. Stemming from a constellation of resources and opportunities, the project is innovative in connecting the University Art Collection with postgraduate teaching in History of Art and the contemporary curatorial practice of Talbot Rice Gallery. 


The Torrie Collection is a group of 86 artworks bequeathed to the University of Edinburgh in 1837.  Amassed by the Scottish collector Sir James Erskine (1772-1825), the 3rd Baronet of Torrie, it represents the Scottish ‘Grand Tour’ collecting of that period. Introducing new insights into the collection is vital to understanding how the works are located both within historic and contemporary debates.


In the hands of this year’s students The Torrie Collection has become the basis for three innovative displays designed to encourage revelation. They provide a fresh analysis of how attributions can affect our perception of a work of art; an opportunity think critically about gender within the Renaissance and the Dutch ‘Golden Age’; and a consideration of how pictures tell stories centred around the theme of Venus and Adonis. Each group has selected items for display and worked to develop different ways of communicating their ideas: from traditional labels, to bold interventions, through to a hand-out telling a story about pride, love and loss. The critical perspectives fostered by these projects have naturally expanded beyond The Torrie Collection and the display also incorporates additional items from the broader University Art Collection.