The Collection started in 1968 when Flemings, the former merchant bank, moved into new
offices. David Donald, one of the directors, suggested that it would be a good idea to purchase a few paintings in order to brighten up the many bare walls. The only guidelines he was given by the Board were that, in view of the company’s Scottish origins - Robert Fleming was born in
in 1845 - the paintings should be by Scottish artists or of Scottish scenes by any artist.
Today the collection comprises works dating from 1770 to the present day. The Fleming Collection continues to grow. The main thrust is currently directed towards buying the work of young Scottish artists, but opportunities are also taken when appropriate to fill historical gaps.
In April 2000, following the announcement of the sale of the bank, The Fleming Collection was sold to a new charitable foundation called The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation. The Foundation acquired premises in
where it converted an empty retail space into a gallery named The Fleming Collection. The gallery opened to the public in January 2002. Over the years the gallery has brought several Scottish public collections to a London audience, with exhibitions have been held from the Fergusson Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council; City Art Centre, Edinburgh; McManus Galleries and Museum, Dundee; The National Galleries of Scotland; Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow among others. Exhibitions surveying the work of artists such as DY Cameron, William McTaggart, Edward Baird and James Pryde have taken place and new research on these artists has been published by The Foundation.
Since The Fleming Collection first opened the doors of its
gallery the exhibition programme has had to juggle between showing works from the permanent collection as well as loan exhibitions. In 2010 an opportunity arose to rent the floor directly above the gallery and create an additional space. This new gallery space, Gallery Two, opened to the public on 10 June 2011.
This development is an important step for us to undertake in the Foundation’s eleventh year. It has been made possible through two generous donations covering half of the cost of the lease for five years. The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, the charity that runs The Fleming Collection, receives no public funding, but relies on grants from charitable foundations, corporate sponsorship and donations from individuals to finance its activities.
The new gallery allows us to show rotating displays of paintings from our permanent collection of Scottish art, comprising paintings from 1770 to the present day. The inaugural hang showcases a number of our key works including the two iconic images of The Highland Clearances, Thomas Faed’s ‘The Last of The Clan’ and John Watson Nicol’s ‘Lochaber No More’. A group of paintings by the Glasgow Boys includes work by Lavery, Guthrie, Walton, Nairn and Kennedy as well as still life paintings by all four Scottish Colourists, a number of works by Anne Redpath alongside her contemporaries John Maxwell and William Gillies and other gems from the permanent collection.
The existing gallery will continue to act as ‘an embassy for Scottish art’ in
, showing exhibitions drawn from a wide range of private and national collections as well as our own. In addition to our exhibition programme The Foundation will continue to loan works to other museums and galleries and has lent a number of works to Dumfries House for two years, including portraits by Sir Henry Raeburn and Sir David Wilkie and landscapes by John Knox, Horatio McCulloch and Sir D Y Cameron among others.