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Edward Atkinson Hornel (1864-1933) was a member of that loose association of young Scottish artists active towards the end of the 19th century who we now know as ‘the Glasgow Boys’. Along with his close friend and collaborator, George Henry, Hornel was arguably among the most experimental of the painters within this group.

On returning from a period of study in Antwerp from 1883 -85, Hornel established a friendship with the young Glasgow based artist, George Henry. George Henry’s family had come from Catrine in Ayrshire before they moved to Glasgow. Henry was already a confirmed member of the group of young Scottish painters referred to as the Glasgow Boys and Hornel himself, was to become a prominent member of this group.

Hornel travelled widely, notably in the Far East where he found inspiration and subject matter for his painting. He remained very much a Kirkcudbright man however, spending most of his time there while maintaining a studio in Glasgow. Partly as a result of his presence, Kirkcudbright came to attract many of the leading figures in Scottish painting and the town was to earn a reputation as an artists’ colony which lasted well into the 20th century.

The paintings featured in this exhibition represent Hornel’s settled, mature style including examples of his work from 1905 to 1928. He died in 1933 after a long and productive career. These paintings have maintained their popularity over the years. They reflect the interest which he developed during his earlier years, in surface decorative effect with figures depicted as merging into their natural surroundings. The paintings present an interesting compliment to the contemporary artists featured in the Main Gallery and provide a good opportunity to view some of our most popular collections.