Harry and Margery Boswell
The collection was inaugurated by Margery Boswell in 1995, in memory of her husband Harry Boswell, to collect Scottish art. Whilst restoring the Boswell family’s ancestral home in Scotland, Harry acquired works by leading modern Scottish artists including Elizabeth Blackadder, William Gillies, William MacTaggart and Robin Philipson. In gifting an endowment to the University of St Andrews, with the purpose of acquiring Scottish art, the Boswell family recognised not only Harry’s passion but also honour his and Margery’s memory in perpetuity.
One of my favourite works in the Boswell Collection is Big Mother of 1994 by Pat Douthwaite (1934-2002). She was born in Glasgow and was dissuaded from formal art training by the Scottish Colourist J. D. Fergusson. She spent formative years in England, including in bohemian circles in London and Suffolk. During her marriage she lived between Cambridge and Majorca and after it she travelled extensively whilst considering Scotland to be her home. With the barest of means, in Big Mother Douthwaite conveys a striking maternal figure, whose arms are covered in flowing, striped material. Her pose suggests the protective iconography of traditional imagery of the Madonna, as seen through a twentieth-century lens.
The artists and their works
An introduction to the Boswell Collection can be found here, whilst information about the works in it and the artists by whom they were made can be found here. I look forward to working with the Boswell family, the University of St Andrews and my fellow Boswell Collection committee members on the development of this fascinating collection.