Upon familiarising myself with the print collection at Edinburgh Printmakers, I noticed several portraits of artists done by fellow artists. Printed within a few years of each other – between 1987 and 1991 – the group includes works by Timothy Hyman, Sandy Moffat and Adrian Wiszniewski and includes depictions of artists Hyman and Moffat, as well as Alfons Bytautas, Ken Currie, Richard Demarco, Peter Howson and Henry Kondracki – all of whom were producing work at Edinburgh Printmakers at the time.

Untitled (Portrait of Alfons Bytautas)

Untitled (Portrait of Alfons Bytautas) 1987

Alexander Moffat (b.1943)

Edinburgh Printmakers

Printed at our studio's third location on Union Street shortly after its opening in 1984 – I imagine these artists were working collaboratively in the studio and that the portraits were created to capture the energy of the moment. Henry Moore had recently exhibited in the gallery, and celebrated Scottish artists such as John Bellany and Barbara Rae were publishing editions on the same presses. The portraits convey a sense of camaraderie amongst fellow contemporary Scottish painter-printmakers.

Untitled (Portrait of Ken Currie)

Untitled (Portrait of Ken Currie) 1987

Alexander Moffat (b.1943)

Edinburgh Printmakers

Alexander (Sandy) Moffat (b.1943) was born in Dunfermline and attended Edinburgh College of Art. During the time these portraits were created, Moffat was teaching painting at Glasgow School of Art – championing a Scottish figurative style that inspired members of the 'New Glasgow Boys' including Steven Campbell, Peter Howson, Adrian Wiszniewski and Ken Currie.

Among the portraits by Moffat is one of Alfons Bytautas RSA (above) who was the etching technician and master printer at Edinburgh Printmakers from 1979 to 2009. The portrait places Bytautas in his natural setting – in front of an etching press and working on a plate (it is also of note that Bytautas was the collaborative master printer on all of the prints in this story).

Moffat's portrait of a pensive Ken Currie (above) features rich areas of aquatint and a curious placement of a globe behind the artist's head – almost acting like a halo in religious iconography.

Untitled (Portrait of Richard Demarco)

Untitled (Portrait of Richard Demarco) 1987

Alexander Moffat (b.1943)

Edinburgh Printmakers

His portrait of artist and arts philanthropist Richard Demarco is quite 'meta' with Demarco posing in front of a portrait of himself against the city's skyline – hinting at the artist's stature in Edinburgh. And Moffat's gestural portrait of Peter Howson features some Howson-esque figures in the background – placing him in the vernacular of his own paintings.

Untitled (Portrait of Peter Howson)

Untitled (Portrait of Peter Howson) 1987

Alexander Moffat (b.1943)

Edinburgh Printmakers

Sandy

Sandy 1987

Adrian Wiszniewski (b.1958)

Edinburgh Printmakers

As a member of the 'New Glasgow Boys', Adrian Wiszniewski RSA (b.1958) was hitting his stride in the late 1980s. He had mounted his first solo shows in London and Glasgow in 1984 which resulted in some of his paintings being acquired by Tate. The year the portrait of Sandy Moffat was made, Adrian was included in 'The Vigorous Imagination: New Scottish Art' at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The simplicity of the linework in this etching is a nice foil to the more intricate compositions and bold colours found in his paintings, whilst still in keeping with his signature style.

Henry Kondracki (b.1953)

Henry Kondracki (b.1953) (edition 4/20) 1991

Timothy Hyman (b.1946)

Edinburgh Printmakers

Timothy Hyman RA (b.1946) is a British figurative painter, art writer and curator. Like the other artists in this group, Hyman is primarily a figurative painter. It's interesting to see his approach to portraiture in etching – creating depth with fields of grey tones similar to the planes of colour created by the thick, gestural brushstrokes found in his paintings. Here he's drawn his two mates, painters Henry Kondracki RSA and Sandy Moffat in a tight crop – barely capturing their full face and cutting each of them off at the hairline. The effect, whether intentional or not, gives a sense of intimacy as if you're standing within inches of the subject.

Sandy Moffat (b.1943)

Sandy Moffat (b.1943) (edition 4/20) 1991

Timothy Hyman (b.1946)

Edinburgh Printmakers

I would be remiss not to acknowledge that these prints are all by male artists with male subjects. There were, indeed, many female artists working in our studios alongside these artists in the late 1980s, and their works bolster our collection. They include Sam Ainsley, Rose Frain, Eileen Lawrence, Gwyneth Leech and Caroline McNairn.

Kristina Royer, Collections Development Manager at Edinburgh Printmakers