It’s the second year of Rediscover, a hands-on project in which postgraduate students from different programmes within History of Art put their original research and knowledge into practice to produce thought-provoking displays at the Talbot Rice Gallery (TRG).

The project centres on The Torrie Collection of 86 artworks bequeathed to the University of Edinburgh by the Scottish collector, Sir James Erskine (1772-1825), 3rd Baronet of Torrie, and involves students from our MSc programmes in History of Art, Theory and Display, Art in the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.

Capitalising on a range of resources and opportunities, the project is innovative in connecting the University Art Collection with postgraduate teaching in History of Art and the contemporary curatorial practice of Talbot Rice Gallery. 

In particular, the project plays a vital role in understanding how the Torrie artworks are located both within historic and contemporary debates, introducing new insights into a collection which represents the Scottish ‘Grand Tour’ collecting of the early nineteenth century.

Nine students | three innovative displays

In total, nine students have contributed to the second year of Rediscover: Marilena Alonzi, Sarah Bergin, Yi-chung Chen, Tina David, Lauren Deeth Kelt, Yang Hu, Elizabeth Rothfuss, Emma Trivett and Zhijun Yang.

In their hands, The Torrie Collection has become the basis for three innovative displays designed to encourage revelation: the first, a fresh analysis of how attributions can affect our perception of a work of art; the second, an opportunity to think critically about gender within the Renaissance and the Dutch ‘Golden Age’; and the third, a consideration of how pictures tell stories centred around the theme of Venus and Adonis.

Each group has selected items for display and worked to develop different ways of communicating their ideas: from traditional labels, to bold interventions, through to a hand-out telling a story about pride, love and loss.

The critical perspectives fostered by these projects have naturally expanded beyond The Torrie Collection and the display also incorporates additional items from the broader University Art Collection.

Rediscover: The Torrie Collection is on at Talbot Rice Gallery from 28th May - 5th June 2016. The gallery is open daily from 11am–5pm. While there, why not visit Interim, an exhibition of work by first year students from our MFA/MA Contemporary Art Practice programme realised through a dialogue between students and gallery curators.