John Bellany Commemorative

The Capercaille’s Song is an exhibition marking the start of the Festivals in Edinburgh.  At the Open Eye Gallery, it is  a commemorative tribute to the late John Bellany CBE, with works  chosen by his wife, Helen, who was John’s inspiration during their long marriage and artistic partnership together.

Bellany was born in Port Seton, East Lothian  in 1942; his father and grandfather were  fishermen in the locality. He studied at the Edinburgh College of Art under those two great artistic giants, the late Sir Robin Philipson and the late Sir William Gillies. As well as a prolific artist, Bellany went on to became a lecturer himself, and a legacy of his life has been the Freedom of East Lothian. In 1994, he was awarded a CBE  and he had several honorary doctorates, medals and commendations from universities internationally.

16When Helen Bellany was asked to make her choice of paintings and drawings which had particular significance for their lives together, she embraced the task with poignancy, tenderness and recognition of what she describes as Bellany’s ‘hedonistic spirit shining through the dark times.’  The works on show exemplify the unique bold and adventurous style of drawing and paining which are integral to Bellany and which have won prizes, been exhibited widely and purchased by discerning individuals and corporate art lovers everywhere.

5. Capercaillie Sings 1984The title of the Exhibition, The Capercaille’s Song’ reminds me, yet again, how many times work depicting a bird singing symbolises the return of joy! In this Festival Exhibition I was also very moved by a lovely watercolour ‘Helen at Cannes’ painted in 1986 which captures the depth of feeling between two remarkable people. ‘To the Lighthouse’painted in oil on canvas in 1986 emphasises the close relationship of the artist both with the sea and, somehow, with being rescued.

Helen Bellany has also written a moving and descriptive foreword to the Catalogue accompanying this exhibition which runs from Monday 3 August to Wednesday 2 September.

I have a feeling that this Exhibition and its moving history will be a sell-out.

Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE, 0131 557 1020

Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm


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Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.

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