During a lull in this summer’s lockdown, I was lucky enough to observe the photographer David Eustace at work on a new portfolio of portraits. The series is now complete and has been named ‘Thirty Two York Place’ after the building in which it was made in Edinburgh’s New Town.
32 York Place is steeped in Scottish art history. The north-facing first floor back room, where Eustace worked, was used by the portraitist Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) from 1798 until his death. It is still dominated by the elongated window with elaborate system of shutters which Raeburn designed in order to control the light which fell on his sitters. The natural light which this permits was the single source of illumination used by Eustace in the creation of his portraits some two centuries later. Other Scottish artists who have used this legendary space as their studio include the Scottish Colourist Samuel John Peploe (1871-1935) and Stanley Cursiter (1887-1976).
Eustace’s portfolio consists of images of twenty-four judges, known as the Senators of the Scottish College of Justice; Lady Carmichael was amongst them and can be seen above. These beautiful and powerful portraits combine tradition with the contemporary and a sense of place, to portray our hope and trust in the people who personify justice in Scotland.
Update January 2022
I was delighted to learn that one of the 32 York Place portfolios has been acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland. The acquisition was announced in The Times on 17 January 2022 and you can read about it here.