Talbot Rice Gallery

The Torrie Collection

11 February - 6 May 2017

For the first time in over a decade, the University of Edinburgh’s founding art collection has been brought back together to be exhibited in the Georgian interior of Gallery 2.

The Torrie Collection takes its name from Sir James Erskine, 3rd Baronet of Torrie, who bequeathed the remarkable works he had acquired to the University in 1836. Containing some of the finest Dutch painting and Renaissance sculpture in Scotland, the exhibition will include some exceptional artworks. Ruisdael’s Banks of a River is arguably the most important early painting by the artist anywhere in the world; de Vries’ Cain and Abel a unique piece for British collections; and the Anatomical Figure of a Horse is a stunning insight into the quest of Renaissance artists to develop the understanding of anatomy.

The Collection represents the Grand Tour tradition of collecting and the democratic principle of gifting art to the Nation, part of the great nineteenth-century expansion of both museums and universities across Britain. The terms of the Torrie gift stipulated that these works of art be made available to the general public for the express purpose of, “laying the foundation of a gallery for the encouragement of the Fine Arts.” Also a founding collection for the National Gallery of Scotland when it opened in 1859, its story is an integral part of Scotland’s national heritage. 


In celebration of this exhibition and the collection, the University has launched a new edition of the Torrie Collection catalogue available to buy in the Gallery and online here.


EVENT | Celebrating The Torrie Collection


The Torrie Collection
Adrian de Vries (1612) Cain and Abel: On display at the Scottish National Gallery Photograph by John Bryden © The University of Edinburgh