MUSA Collections Centre: Object of the Month!

Dear all!

This ‘Object of the Month’ blog is dedicated to a very special item displayed and cared for in the MUSA Collections Centre. It is an album containing sketches by the Forfar-born artist, James Watterston Herald (1859-1914). A relatively unknown artist during his lifetime, Herald’s work has gained popularity in recent years and he has been recognised as an important figure in late 19th and early 20th century Scottish art.

Decorated envelope sent to J. S. Ewen by Herald

Two of our volunteers, Liz and Margaret, from the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Society have been working with great enthusiasm and skill to catalogue the sketches included in the album, which has 220 pages. It is thought that the sketches were collected by James Watterston Herald’s patron and lifelong friend, John Taylor Ewen (1863-1942) who was a Forfar-born engineer involved in the construction of the Forth Railway Bridge. He carefully collected and compiled Herald’s sketches, which mainly date from the mid-1890s when the artist was living in Croydon and Arbroath.  

Landscape sketches on postal envelopes by James Watterston Herald

Many of the works are quick sketches made by Herald, often on postal envelopes or small scraps of paper, in preparation for larger, complete works. They capture ideas for the subject matter and composition of his works. The sketches are in a variety of mediums including pencil, ink, watercolour and pastel. 

Character sketches and harbour scene by James Watterston Herald

 There are so many wonderful sketches in this album that it was very difficult to pick which ones to feature in the blog! We hope you like them. As always, we would be delighted to hear your responses to the MUSA Collections Centre’s (slightly overdue!) ‘Object of the Month’!

All the best


Project Officer, Stores


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