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Family ties feature in gallery show

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Family ties feature in gallery show

AN exhibition celebrating the art of William Hanna Clarke and his great niece Alison Kinnaird MBE is on now in Kirkcudbright Galleries.

Glasgow born Hanna Clarke (1882–1924) was a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, a stalwart of the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Colony and a prolific and successful artist despite his early death.

His initial career was in dentistry but after five years, he retrained in his first love, then juggled both professions for a a while.

However, two successful submissions to the Royal Glasgow Institute of Arts in 1911 and 1912 persuaded him that he could follow his heart. By 1915 he and his wife, Betty, had joined the thriving artists’ community in Kirkcudbright.

Hanna Clarke showed that the: “idyllic sense of colour, sunlight and the pastoral life surrounding farm steadings and the intimate woodlands captivate him most.”

He was tragically killed in an accident before he could truly enjoy his success. Despite only 12 years as a professional artist Clarke has left an impressive body of work. His deftness with colour, subtle use of figures and clear love of landscape are a testament to his skill, which offers a glimpse of what could have been.

Meanwhile, his great niece has carried on the gift of artistic talent and has become an internationally celebrated glass engraver as well as a talented musician.

‘Creative Legacies’ celebrates this talented family with a unique exhibition of their combined works.

Edinburgh based Alison, whose work is in public, royal and private collections throughout Europe, America and the Far East, attended the preview event.

Her glass ranges from small intimate pieces to large-scale architectural installations which incorporate light and colour.

She is also one of the foremost exponents of Scottish harp music, playing both gut and wire-strung Scottish harps. She was the first player to make a recording of Scottish harp music and co-wrote (with Keith Sanger) ‘The Tree of Strings’, a history of the harp in Scotland, as well as producing many other recordings and printed collections of music.

Speaking on ‘Creative Legacies’, Councillor Ian Blake said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring such unique and remarkable sculptures by one of the world’s leading glass engravers to Dumfries and Galloway.”

* The free exhibition is on show until Sunday 16 June at Kirkcudbright Galleries