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Longing for a change of scene? Dreaming of Tuscan hillsides, Spanish beaches or the vineyards of the South of France? Holidays abroad perhaps seem a little out of reach for many of us this year but all is not lost. Wonderful art can be a doorway to the world. Browse our beautiful paintings, close your eyes and let your mind wander. Meander through the streets of medieval French towns, feel the heat of the North African sun, see the sun glinting on the canals of Venice... Imagination can take you anywhere and everywhere.

16 artworks

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Boats, Venice
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Boats, Venice

Who doesn't dream of a trip to wonderful Venice? The Floating City, La Serenissima, The City of Bridges - often named as the most beautiful (and most romantic) city in the world. It's a place to throw away your guidebook and your streetmap and just wander. There are delights to be found around every corner. Imagine stumbling across this scene. The boats bobbing gently in the water, their masts and brightly coloured hulls reflected in the ripples, the halyards clinking in the warm breeze, the low buzz of conversation from nearby cafes. The perfect place to stop for a delicious gelato or a refreshing glass of chilled wine.

Boats, Venice
Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883–1937)
Oil on board
H 37.5 x W 45 cm
Fife Council

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Berneval, the Cliff
© The Fergusson Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council, Scotland. Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Berneval, the Cliff

A beautifully serene depiction of Normandy's Berneval-le-Grand, courtesy of celebrated Scottish Colourist, J D Fergusson. His lifelong love of France seeps out of this gorgeous painting, the bright splashes of the reds and pinks offset against the creamy-white of the cliffs and the sand. In the foreground, a meandering rivulet breaks away from the blue sea, wending it's way across the canvas. Banish the long dresses, replace them with modern bathing costumes and you could drop yourself straight into this scene, as if by magic. Looking at modern photographs, even the outline of the cliffs has remained exactly the same, just as Fergusson painted them over 100 years ago.

Berneval, the Cliff
John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961)
Oil on canvas
H 51 x W 61 cm
Fife Council

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Ceylon Landscape (No. 1)
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Ceylon Landscape (No. 1)

A deserted beach, a lone figure walking through the shallows, perhaps deep in thought or perhaps just enjoying the solitude. Who wouldn't want to be in this place at this time? Imagine the feel of the hot sand under your bare feet and then the welcome coolness of the water as you step into the gently lapping waves, no sound but the surf in the distance and the cries of seabirds overhead. The light fabric of your bright yellow summer dress catches the warm breeze, billowing out behind you. Above you a few fluffy white clouds drift lazily by in a bright blue sky. Bliss!

Ceylon Landscape (No. 1)
Lindsay Grandison MacArthur (1865–1945)
Oil on board
H 34 x W 49.7 cm
Fife Council

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Ceylon Landscape (No. 3)
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Ceylon Landscape (No. 3)

A welcome late afternoon breeze picks up, whipping the waves into white breakers. Wandering further along the beach towards a rocky outcrop, drawn by the faint sound of voices, your eye is caught by the bright skirts of a group of women, picked out in vibrant reds and vivid whites against the rocks. The sea gleams in shades of emerald and azure, shading into a darker blue where the water deepens. You breathe deeply, inhaling the fresh, salty tang of the air and reluctantly turn to make your way back along the the beach, thoughts of home and a cool, refreshing drink pulling you onward.

Ceylon Landscape (No. 3)
Lindsay Grandison MacArthur (1865–1945)
Oil on board
H 34.7 x W 49.6 cm
Fife Council

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Peille, A Hillside Village
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Peille, A Hillside Village

This sublime mix of soft pinks, greys, blues and purples takes us to Provence, to the Alpes Martitimes in the south-east of France. Redpath lived in France for some years and, like many artists, attributed her love of colour to her travels abroad - "To go to Spain and find dark grey skies and white villages; to Italy and find that the sky is more violet than blue…"

Clinging to a hillside, surrounded by lush pine forests and oak woodlands, this historic village offers the perfect getaway. Stroll through the narrow streets, marvel at the stately medieval townhouses, slip inside the cool of one of the many churches, stop for a while in a quiet square and rest by an ornate drinking fountain. What a lovely way to spend the day.

Peille, A Hillside Village
Anne Redpath (1895–1965)
Oil on canvas
H 51 x W 61 cm
Fife Council

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Fields at Orry-La-Ville
© by permission of the artist's family. Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Fields at Orry-La-Ville

Grandson to the famous landscape artist, William McTaggart, here the younger MacTaggart effortlessly transports us to the village of Orry-la-Ville in Picardie, northern France. In this tranquil spot, it's easy to imagine yourself taken out of time, back to the lives and stories of so many who lived and worked in this historic place. From its beginnings as a Roman settlement, to the 11th century watermill and the 19th century chateau nearby, this little village is steeped in the past. In the foreground, a field of wildflowers ripples in the breeze - the red poppies a lovely but poignant reminder that Picardie saw some of the bloodiest battles in World War one and World War Two. A place to indulge in quiet contemplation...

Fields at Orry-La-Ville
William MacTaggart (1903–1981)
Oil on panel
H 32 x W 47.5 cm
Fife Council

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Canal Facade, Burano
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Canal Facade, Burano

No visit to Venice is complete without a trip to some of the islands that surround the city. Hop on a vaporetto and head to Torcello (with its 7th century church), Murano (for its exquisite glass) or beautiful Burano. Home to just 2700 it is famous for two things - intricate lacework and brightly coloured houses. The tradition began in the 16th century. Our painting shows the houses in muted colours but today they can be anything from sunshine yellow and cerise pink to Cadbury's chocolate-wrapper purple and pistachio green. The houses are organised in lots and colours are assigned by the government. A magical place bursting at the seams with picturesque vistas. No wonder it's a favourite of so many artists and photographers.

Canal Facade, Burano
Ian Massie (1937–1997)
Oil on hardboard
H 70.3 x W 110.8 cm
Fife Council

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Plage Scene (Beach Scene)
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Plage Scene (Beach Scene)

A view of the beach at Etaples, northern France, painted during a trip to the region with fellow Scottish Colourist, J D Fergusson. The ladies, with their wide-brimmed hats and long skirts spread out around them on the sand make a pretty picture. However, one can't help but wonder if they felt rather hot and uncomfortable in the summer sun. Of course, a suntan wasn't considered fashionable back then. In fact, it was thought very unladylike. But, what happiness there is to be had enjoying a day out with friends, chatting and watching the sailing boats drift by. Spare a thought, though, for the poor policeman, in his heavy, dark, uniform and helmet, standing to attention amongst the crowds of holidaymakers.

Plage Scene (Beach Scene) 1907
Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
Oil on panel
H 22 x W 27 cm
Fife Council

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Beach Scene
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Beach Scene

A busy beach scene but strangely calming - myriad shades of blue and grey creating a tranquil feeling despite the hustle and bustle we see on the canvas. Children playing in the sand, couples and families strolling along the shoreline. Judging by the white surf rolling in and the clouds scudding along the weather isn't picture perfect but it doesn't seem to have dampened anyone's enthusiasm for a day out at the seaside. A scenario we're probably all very familiar with...

Beach Scene 1910
Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
Oil on panel
H 20.5 x W 26 cm
Fife Council

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My House in Morocco
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

My House in Morocco

Several of the Glasgow Boys, including Lavery, Thomas Millie Dow and Arthur Melville fell for the charms of North Africa while travelling there on painting holidays. Lavery first visited Morocco in 1890 and bought a house in Tangier in 1903. It became a haven for many of his artist friends.

Imagine arriving, hot, tired and thirsty after a long journey, crossing the bridge over the sparkling blue river below, wending your way up the dusty road, beckoned on by the promise of a long cold drink and the cool respite provided by Lavery's white-walled house, shaded by trees under a clear blue sky.

My House in Morocco 1912
John Lavery (1856–1941)
Oil on canvas
H 25 x W 34 cm
Fife Council

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A Spring Day, Morocco
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

A Spring Day, Morocco

Born in Dysart, Millie Dow is the only Fife-born Glasgow Boy. This dreamy painting is typical of his style. The wild irises - purple and white with a golden-yellow centre - dominate the foreground but as the eye drifts upwards we see a shepherd, dressed in loose white clothing, wandering by with his flock. The heat of the day hangs heavy in the air, bathing the scene in a shimmering haze. In the distance, a road wends its way to a hillside village, surrounded by lush green pastures.

A Spring Day, Morocco
Thomas Millie Dow (1848–1919)
Oil on canvas
H 79 x W 67 cm
Fife Council

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Palm Trees, Antibes
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Palm Trees, Antibes

The glamorous south of France, and where more so than Antibes? Nestled between Cannes and Nice, Antibes is a heady mix of luxury yachts, buzzing nightlife and festivals. It's also a place steeped in history, with links to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, Saracen pirates, Napoleon Bonaparte and Pablo Picasso. There is so much here to admire, explore and marvel at. But for now let's take a moment to sit in the shade of the luxuriant palm trees and watch the world go by in all it's infinite variety.

Palm Trees, Antibes 1928
Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
Oil on canvas
H 61.5 x W 51.5 cm
Fife Council

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Park Scene
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Park Scene

Paris in all its glory. A wonderful explosion of colour and movement - vibrant blues, purples and greens and here and there a dash of pink or yellow. We see elegant figures enjoying a leisurely stroll through well-tended gardens, packed with colourful flowers and lush foliage, with some welcome shade supplied by the overhanging branches of the trees.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself there, delighting in a catch-up with friends as you walk or perhaps enjoying some welcome refreshments at the tea pavilion. Bird calls and the low hum of conversation - a welcome oasis in the heart of the city.

Park Scene 1910
Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
Oil on canvas
H 19 x W 24 cm
Fife Council

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Regatta on the Grand Canal, Venice
© Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums. Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Regatta on the Grand Canal, Venice

The Regatta Storica - one of the biggest events in the Venetian calendar. Held on the first Sunday of September, it attracts visitors from around the world. The festivities begin with a parade of boats along the Grand Canal, the gondoliers dressed in colourful historical costume. Then come a series of boat races, watched by huge crowds. James McBey's painting is one of many depictions of this event.

Just imagine the scene - the music, the throngs of people laughing, chatting and cheering as the parade goes by. The carnival atmosphere captured so wonderfully here - a riot of colour and movement, set against the backdrop of the city's majestic buildings.

Regatta on the Grand Canal, Venice 1925
James McBey (1883–1959)
Oil on canvas
H 112 x W 150 cm
Fife Council

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Château Gaillard
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Chateau Gaillard

Glasgow Boy, David Cameron, made many trips to France in his lifetime. Here, he takes us to Normandy, to the medieval village of Chateau Gaillard, around 20 miles from Rouen, Normandy.

The end of a long, hot day, the shadows lengthening as the sun dips lower in the sky. In the distance the majestic bulk of the chateau draws the eye upward. A historic place indeed, built in 1196 at the command of Richard the Lionheart. A tranquil place to sit and watch the sun go down over rolling hills and admire the gentle flow of the River Seine, before strolling home for an aperitif on the terrace.

Château Gaillard
David Young Cameron (1865–1945)
Oil on canvas
H 88.5 x W 110.5 cm
Fife Council

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Cassis
Photo credit: Fife Cultural Trust, on behalf of Fife Council

Cassis

Cassis, a historic Mediterranean Provencal fishing village, famous for its pastel-coloured harbour buildings and towering cliffs. Whitewashed houses, red tiled roofs, a blue sky with just a few wispy clouds - a beautiful summer's day in the glorious south of France. How tempting to rest in the shadows cast by the walls - a brief respite from the heat of the sun as you walk along the winding road back to you holiday cottage in the distance. Anticipating the respite from the copse of trees, where the sunlight is filtered by the leaves and branches, thankful for a few moments of shade before you emerge again into the bright, white light of the afternoon.

Cassis
Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883–1937)
Oil on panel
H 45 x W 37.5 cm
Fife Council