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In this week's blog, we catch up with the team from the Fleming Collection, who tell us about their recent visit to the gallery, and reveal more about a painting by John Bellany which features in A Scottish Selection: Paintings from the Fleming Collection.

When Jerwood Gallery and Fleming Collection first started discussing a joint exhibition we were thrilled. A Scottish Selection: Paintings from the Fleming Collection, currently on display at Jerwood Gallery, is a joint venture to showcase Scottish art and to invite an unprecedented conversation between these two remarkable collections.
The Fleming Collection, widely regarded as the finest collection of Scottish art in private hands, is the only dedicated gallery granting public access to Scottish art all year round, and comprises over 750 oils and watercolours dating from 1770 to the present day. It is an ideal partner for Jerwood Gallery, which is committed to nurturing excellence in the arts, and holds a significant collection of artworks from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Fleming Collection staff travelled from London to Hastings on a beautiful spring day to enjoy the private view. As we headed to the Old Town shore, we were met with an architecturally impressive building covered in glazed black tiles and featuring large glass windows, making it simultaneously stand out and blend into the seascape.
On entering the gallery, we were immediately struck by Anne Redpath’s painting, Window in Menton, captured as it was in the natural light of the space and sitting alongside other Redpath paintings from the Jerwood Collection.
From there, we meandered through the gallery’s imposing space, admiring tall ceilings and natural light. We came across John Bellany’s The Herring Fishers, only rarely exhibited. Bellany came from a fishing family and a fishing village, Port Seton, ten miles east of Edinburgh and is the subject of much of his work, so Hastings is a fitting context for this painting.
The Herring Fishers shows Bellany’s grandfather on his boat, the ‘Agnes of Janet’, while out herring fishing. Most of the east coast fishermen of his generation went to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to fish for herring, and Bellany recalled the rough life that the fishermen on these boats endured. Living conditions were dark and below decks, and men could be at sea for months, but their religious faith ‘carried them through, and with every catch and with every shoal of herring caught, they paid tribute to God, it was an act of worship’ - John Bellany in discussion with Kitty Douglas-Hamilton, 2005.
It has been a joy to see the two collections coming together and connecting in this way, bringing an even deeper meaning to the work. It is a rare opportunity to explore pieces from two respected collections in a truly remarkable venue. Do not hesitate to see it!
Image  © Sam Roberts