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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Dundee was renowned as one of the major art centres of Britain. The massive growth of the jute industry turned factory owners into millionaires and collecting art became one of their favourite hobbies. As the painter John Duncan recalled: “The best artists of the country were coming and going amongst us, the guests of our merchant princes; and the fame of Dundee as an art centre was spread far and wide”. The first generation of collectors concentrated on Scottish art, commissioning work directly from leading painters of the day. In the early 20th century, a new generation appeared with even more ambitious tastes. This online exhibition looks at some of the city’s leading art patrons.

16 artworks
Cromwell's Saints
Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

Cromwell's Saints 1862

John Pettie (1839–1893)

Oil on canvas

H 42.5 x W 52 cm

National Galleries of Scotland

The Spell
Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

The Spell 1864

William Fettes Douglas (1822–1891)

Oil on canvas

H 77.5 x W 157 cm

National Galleries of Scotland

A Day's Fishing, Morning
Photo credit: The Fleming Collection

A Day's Fishing, Morning 1866

William McTaggart (1835–1910)

Oil on canvas

H 45.2 x W 61 cm

The Fleming Collection

Asleep
Photo credit: The Orchar Collection: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums (Dundee City Council)

Asleep c.1871

George Paul Chalmers (1833–1878)

Oil on canvas

H 36.8 x W 24 cm

The Orchar Collection: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums (Dundee City Council)

Puss in Boots
Photo credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

Puss in Boots 1877

John Everett Millais (1829–1896)

Oil on canvas

H 106.7 x W 79.3 cm

Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

The Rape of the Sabines
Photo credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

The Rape of the Sabines 1874

Eduardo Léon Garrido (1856–1949)

Oil on canvas

H 115.6 x W 150.8 cm

Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

Mariage de convenance
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Mariage de convenance 1886

William Quiller Orchardson (1832–1910)

Oil on canvas

H 113 x W 169.4 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Dundee from Harecraigs
Photo credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

Dundee from Harecraigs 1879

David Farquharson (1839–1907)

Oil on canvas

H 50.8 x W 101.6 cm

Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

Lobster Fishers, Machrihanish Bay
Photo credit: University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

Lobster Fishers, Machrihanish Bay c.1901

William McTaggart (1835–1910)

Oil on canvas

H 100 x W 154 cm

University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

John Robertson (1862–1943), Fine Art Dealer
Photo credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

John Robertson (1862–1943), Fine Art Dealer 1928

Philip Alexius de László (1869–1937)

Oil on board

H 77.5 x W 51.5 cm

Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

Peek-a-Bo
Photo credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

Peek-a-Bo c.1900

Bernardus Johannes Blommers (1845–1914)

Oil on canvas

H 102.9 x W 77.5 cm

Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

The Jetty at Trouville
Photo credit: Glasgow Life Museums

The Jetty at Trouville 1869

Eugène Louis Boudin (1824–1898)

Oil on canvas

H 64.8 x W 92.8 cm

Glasgow Life Museums

Woman in Blue with a Child
Photo credit: Glasgow Life Museums

Woman in Blue with a Child c.1899

Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940)

Oil on compressed card

H 48.6 x W 56.5 cm

Glasgow Life Museums

Orchard in Blossom (Apricot Trees)
Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

Orchard in Blossom (Apricot Trees) 1888

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)

Oil on canvas

H 54 x W 65.2 cm

National Galleries of Scotland

Kincardine Castle, Perthshire
Photo credit: University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

Kincardine Castle, Perthshire 1845

Charlotte Nasmyth (1804–1884)

Oil on canvas

H 46 x W 58 cm

University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

Star
© the artist. Photo credit: University of Dundee Fine Art Collections

Star 1996

Jim Pattison (b.1955)

Acrylic on paper, laid on wood

H 74 x W 69 cm

University of Dundee Fine Art Collections