Archive for September, 2010

The Honourable Mrs Graham by Thomas Gainsborough

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Mary Cathcart (1757-1792) was born to the 9th Earl of Cathcart who was ambassador to Catherine the Great in Russia. Brought up in Russia she returned to England when she was 17 and married Thomas Graham, a Scottish aristocrat.  Very much in love with Mary there is a story that when she forgot her jewellery on the way to a ball, Thomas made a 90 mile round trip on horseback to fetch it for her.  She was considered a beauty of her day and was befriended by Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire, while on holiday in Brighton. 

 She died young, at the age of 35, from tuberculosis and her husband was so grief-stricken that he had her portrait covered with a cloth and then gave it to her sister, as he could no longer bear to look at it.  Mary is buried in the churchyard at Methven in Perthshire.  This painting is considered to be one of Thomas Gainsborough’s finest full-length portraits and it was bequeathed to the National Galleries in Edinburgh on the understanding that it never leaves Scotland.

Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. The son of a weaver, his artistic skills were recognised early and he left to study art in London at the age of 13.  His skills as a portrait artist moved him from Sudbury to Ipswich and then to Bath where his sitters were now authors, actors and members of high society. 

In 1768 he was elected a founder member of the Royal Academy of Arts and moved to Pall Mall in London.  He was a favourite of King George III and his wife Charlotte and was commissioned to paint their portrait.  He had an uneasy relationship with the Royal Academy and eventually withdrew from them, preferring to hang his paintings in his own studio.  Although he preferred to paint landscapes it is for his portraits that he is remembered including Mr and Mrs Andrews, Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire and of course the Honourable Mrs Graham.

You will find this portrait in Room X in the National Gallery of Edinburgh.

Intermezzo offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties and provide unique access and private viewings in venues across Scotland. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum – #museumfact

Monday, September 27th, 2010


It is a popular myth that the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow was built the wrong way round and that the Architect, upon realising this, jumped to his death from one of the towers!  The myth arose because what is considered to be Kelvingrove’s main entrance looks into Kelvingrove Park rather than out onto Argyle Street, which is the main street.  Today most visitors enter from Argyle Street on public transport however, in 1901, visitors would have entered through the park and it was always intended that this should be its main entrance.

There were in fact two architects – John Simpson and Milner Allen – and they were both very happy with the building when it was completed!  They were chosen from a competition in 1892 and the Art Gallery & Museum was completed and opened in 1901.

The Grand frontage and towers were inspired by those of the great Sppanish pilgrimage church of Santiago de Compostela and the interior was based on an Italian Renaissance palace.  Kelvingrove was paid for with profits from the 1888 International Exhibition and public subscription.

Intermezzo organise private viewings of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

The Light of the World 1851-60

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt 1851-60

William Holman Hunt was a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of artists formed in 1848, along with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais.  Their intention was to take art back to the time before Raphael, hence their name, as they believed that subsequent artists who had copied Raphael’s work had created a mannered and over-stylised method of painting which had been adopted by the Royal Academy and which did not allow for freedom and creativity.

 The painting symbolises Christ travelling through the night to knock at the door of the human soul and was painted at night in a hut especially built by the artist.  The door in the painting has no handle and therefore can only be opened from the inside and was based on a door in an old railway station building.   

 There are three versions of this painting – one in Keble College, Oxford, a life-size version in St Paul’s Cathedral in London and this smaller version which is in the Manchester City Art Galleries.   All three paintings toured extensively and this is Holman Hunt’s most famous and well-known image.  Van Gogh considered it to be a supreme example of the power of Christ.

This is a wonderful painting and is currently on show in the Manchester City Art Galleries and you will find it in Gallery 5.  The lantern was made to Holman Hunt’s specifications to incorporate the ideas of Christian symbolism and this original lantern is also on show next to the painting. Visit the Manchester City Art Galleries’ website for more information at

 Intermezzo offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

Riverside Museum

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The second most visited Museum of Transport in the UK was Glasgow’s Museum of Transport in the City’s West End.  It closed in April 2010 and will move to its new home, the Riverside Museum, on the banks of the Clyde in Spring 2011.

The Riverside Museum was designed by Zaha Hadid CBE, a leading, award-winning architect whose spectacular designs can be seen in cultural buildings all over the world.  Born in Iraq, she now lives and works in London and was the first female to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Displays in the new Museum include trams, steam trains, cycles, cars, ships and motorbikes which will all be housed in unique and innovative exhibitions.

To view short films on the current progress of the Museum visit

To support the Riverside go to

Intermezzo are currently providing Hard Hat Tours for businesses interested in supporting the Museum.  For more information on this unique opportunity to see a work in progress please contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at