Sparks flew, but exhibition shows artistic beauty emerged from Scott-Turner union

13 Jun



AN exhibition charting the dynamic and creative relationship between Sir Walter Scott and the artist, J M W Turner, is a summer attraction at Abbotsford, Scott’s home in the Scottish Borders.

Two of the most influential figures in British history, the men became business partners and, in spite of sparks often flying, the union resulted in the beauty of Turner’s illustrated editions of Scott’s poems and prose works.

The exhibition, Turner & Scott: The Painter and the Poet, reveals that although their relationship was at times “strained and frosty”, there was also a great deal of common ground between the two cultural giants, perhaps more than either appreciated.

Two particular highlights of the exhibition are a sketchbook which Turner used to record his impressions of Abbotsford during a visit to the house in 1831, and a pair of watercolours, part of an original set commissioned to illustrate poetry by Scott. This is the first time those watercolours have been displayed at Abbotsford.

As well as being a writer, Scott was an advocate and a member of Faculty.  The Faculty’s long association with Abbotsford, near Melrose, is continued through the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collection Trust which has care of around 9,000 books in the house’s library and other items.

The exhibition runs until the end of November. Details at