Ballater art gallery’s new exhibition

Rhod McEwan and Biscuit, taking a rest from getting the upcoming exhibition ready
Rhod McEwan and Biscuit, taking a rest from getting the upcoming exhibition ready

A pen and ink drawing, drawn and sent to William Makepeace Thackeray, is featuring as part of a Ballater gallery’s 41st annual exhibition.

The piece is called ‘Put to Flight’, by Sir Edwin Landseer (the artist best known for the lion sculptures in Trafalgar Square), and comes with the accompanying letter the artist wrote to Thackeray, the Victorian satirist.

Owner of McEwan’s Gallery, Rhod McEwan, described it as one of his favourite pieces currently hanging, but insisted that it was out of the question for him to hold on to it.

“We haven’t kept a piece in 50 years,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t appreciate them, but they really are a moveable feast. Everything’s for sale.”

The walls of the McEwan Gallery are hung with fine art year-round, but every summer, they open their annual exhibition.

“Technically, we’re open every day,” explained Rhod, “but for the exhibition, we hold back some special pieces that we aquire throughout the year that we think would be good for the show, and we have a few artists on our books who we commission. We also send out invites, and put up a few signs throughout the village.”

Rhod added: “We actually have a very loyal following, but we also have people knocking on our door all the time, saying that they’ve always seen us when they’ve passed by and meant to come in, but haven’t yet got around to it.”

Set in a house built in 1902 by Rodolphe Christen - in a style supposed to remind the artist of his native Switzerland - the McEwan Gallery is divided into three rooms, with sculptures and paintings set to be in constant rotation for the exhibition’s duration.

It will open privately on Sunday, August 2, and to the public the following day, and run until October 31.

McEwans Gallery has existed in Ballater since 1975, and was started by Rhod’s mother. Find it on the A939, just over a mile outside the village centre.