The Fine Art Society’s Portrait of a Lady in Grey and Black by Sir John Lavery, c.1902, is offered with a six-figure asking price.

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From the inaugural NT Art Month in Edinburgh to the established Edinburgh Art Festival, the Scottish capital comes alive with art.

Auction houses, including Bonhams and Lyon & Turnbull, host sales and events scheduled to coincide and further afield a new show takes place in Fife.

Celebration time

NT Art Month is a “celebration of the arts quarter in Edinburgh’s New Town” area and features 11 galleries on streets including Dundas Street, Abercromby Place, Howard Street and Queen Street. It runs until the end of June (while many exhibitions run further into the summer).


Also among The Fine Art Society’s works for sale during the summer is Jan van Kessel the Elder’s 1677 picture Exotic Birds in flight and perched on branches in a mountainous landscape, priced at £55,000.

Among those participating is The Fine Art Society (FAS). It is hosting a show titled History of the New, running from July 2-29.

It features Scottish and British paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries and decorative art and furniture from the late 19th century.

The exhibition features works from the Glasgow Boys including Sir John Lavery. A highlight is Portrait of a Lady in Grey and Black, a c.1902 Lavery picture, from a private collection which is being exhibited for the first time in 100 years. It has a six-figure asking price (pictured, above top).

Emily Walsh, managing director of FAS, said: “Summer in Edinburgh means an upturn in new visitors to the gallery. Edinburgh starts buzzing with tourists and inevitably they find their way to Dundas Street where many of the city’s galleries are. Schools break up a little earlier in Scotland at the end of June, so we also see more visitors from within Scotland too.

“This, of course, is a build-up to the main event of the Edinburgh festivals. Dominated by the Fringe and the International festival, the city really comes alive throughout August and so too does The Fine Art Society.”


Harvey & Woodd offers Tim Scott Bolton’s watercolour Forsil and run out, River Halladale with an asking price of £650.

Also on Dundas Street, and part of NT Art Month, is dealer Harvey & Woodd. James Harvey “put out the bunting” for the new event and is running a wide-ranging exhibition from June for the summer. Among the artists featured is Tim Scott Bolton.

Breathe in

Next up is the Space to Breathe art exhibition in Fife. Sophie Camu Lindsay, art adviser and ex-director of Impressionist and Modern art at Sotheby’s, has organised the exhibition and festival with her husband, photographer Alexander Lindsay.


Andy Goldsworthy’s Wool.Hand. Dumfriesshire, Scotland. 14 June 2019. This inkjet print, an edition of two, is priced at £10,000 + VAT at Space to Breathe exhibition in Fife.

Running from July 15 through to August 6, it focuses on four British artists: Harry Cory Wright, Susan Derges, Andy Goldsworthy and Alexander Lindsay. All four artists will be showing work created in Scotland and the UK, including photography, watercolours and other artwork mediums. The majority of the works will be for sale.

Another festival…

Covering the busy August month is Edinburgh Art Festival, returning for its 19th edition from August 11-27. Among the galleries taking part is Arusha Gallery, also on Dundas Street, which is presenting work by Contemporary artists Plum Cloutman, Zayn Qahtani and Georg Wilson.


Plum Cloutman’s Grasping in the Hedgerows, 2023, is priced between £4500-6000 at Arusha Gallery.

Buzz of auctions

Auction houses are also heavily involved in the summer calendar.

Edinburgh firm Lyon & Turnbull will also be hosting its usual August sales. The saleroom will join the festivities with its Contemporary & Post-War Art/Prints & Multiples auction on August 9.

Carly Shearer, head of Contemporary art at L&T, said: “Art and culture is on everyone’s mind in Edinburgh in August, as thousands flock to the city to enjoy all that the festival has to offer.

“This auction category always generates a buzz and the vibrancy of the city in August as it is in the throes of the largest arts festival in the world only adds to the atmosphere.”


Among the lots in Lyon & Turnbull’s Contemporary & Post-War Art/Prints & Multiples auction on August 9 is this watercolour by Sir Anthony Gormley, Untitled (Male Form), with an estimate of £6000-8000.

Alongside its August auction it also presents the winner of its Graduate Showcase Award. This year the exhibition is of the work of Lucy Mulholland BA (Hons) Sculpture, Edinburgh College of Art 2022.


Among the lots in Lyon & Turnbull’s Scottish Works of Art & Whisky sale on August 16 includes a collection by Scottish silversmith Graham Stewart (1955-2020). Pictured is an embossed cup, a bowl and brooches with estimates from £400-3000.

L&T will host a Scottish Works of Art & Whisky sale on August 16 which “showcases the best of Scottish silver, Wemyss Ware, works of art and whisky”.

New base


Bonhams Scotland’s new home in Melville Crescent, Edinburgh.

May Matthews, Bonhams’ managing director of Bonhams Scotland (alongside her role as head of Scottish art department), says the date of the Fringe and the festival means that “the world looks at Edinburgh in August”. So it is the perfect time for Bonhams to unveil its new saleroom in the New Town area of Edinburgh: a five-storey double-fronted 19th-century townhouse in Melville Crescent. The building will house its specialist departments and valuations team.


Morar Beach, near Arisaig by Samuel Peploe (1871-1935), guideed at £40,000-60,000 in Bonhams’ Scottish Art Sale on October 11.

It will host the first sales in September with its Celtic auction scheduled on September 14 and a Scottish Art sale on October 11 (plus an online whisky sale in late September).


May Matthews, managing director of Bonhams Scotland.

The ground floor of the premises has a new exhibition space which will host its debut show in late August/September “to showcase the global company” that is both “global and local”.


A c.1750 rare engraved Jacobite airtwist wine glass estimated at £3000-4000 in Bonhams’ Scottish and Celtic Sale on September 14.

Matthews gives the example of a Helene Schjerfbeck picture that sold in December 2022. It had been purchased on eBay by a man in Edinburgh for £40.


Helene Schjerfbeck’s White roses in a glass c.1880-90s, consigned to Bonhams in Edinburgh then sold in December 2002 at Bukowskis for the equivalent of £99,000.

He consigned the work to Bonhams Scotland which decided the best saleroon to offer it in was Bukowskis (Bonhams bought the Swedish firm in 2022). The picture then sold in Stockholm for the equivalent of £99,000.

Auction options

Over in Glasgow on July 20, the McTear’s saleroom is offering a mallet used to launch RMS Empress of Ireland.

Other auction houses in the country include Lindsay Burns, Thomson Roddick, Taylors Auction Rooms, Ramsay Cornish, Great Western Auctions, Mulberry Bank Auctions, Peebles Auction House, Border Auctions, Canalbank Auction and Elgin Auction Centre.