Job title: Honorary Fellow, History of Art

Email: ecummin1@exseed.ed.ac.uk

Elizabeth is a historian and curator who writes on Scottish art and design since 1870. In a varied early career she was a junior researcher on the national survey of Pictish symbol stones, an assistant curator in Dundee, and Edinburgh city's first Keeper of Fine Art Collections, establishing the present City Art Centre in 1980. There she began to document the life and work of the artist Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) to become the subject of her doctorate awarded by this university. This broadened her research to include the applied arts, and she remains intrigued by the interface between art and design which particularly defines Scottish Arts and Crafts. Invited by Thames & Hudson to write The Arts and Crafts Movement (with Wendy Kaplan) in the World of Art series, she subsequently taught at this university and for almost ten years held a lectureship in design history at Edinburgh College of Art where she enjoyed working with students of jewellery, ceramics, glass, textiles and furniture.

Elizabeth curated Glasgow 1900: Art & Design (1992: Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh, Amsterdam), Phoebe Anna Traquair (1993: Scottish National Portrait Gallery), the vast exhibition Hand, Heart and Soul: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland (2007-08: Edinburgh, Sheffield and Aberdeen), and Weaving the Century: Dovecot Studios 1912-2012 (2012: Dovecot Studios and Compton Verney). In 2003 she was invited to be a Visiting Fellow at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and to deliver a lecture series to inaugurate the new Christchurch Art Gallery. She has represented the UK at design symposia in Norway, Japan and the USA. As an adviser, she has served on the committees of many cultural institutions over the years, and is currently a trustee of the Mansfield Traquair Trust, the Scottish Stained Glass Trust and the Lorimer Society.

Elizabeth has written more than 20 books and catalogues, of which 10 are single-authored, and nearly 40 book chapters and essays published in Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, the USA and Japan as well as in this country. Her pioneering cultural study Hand Heart and Soul: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland (Birlinn: 2006, 2013) was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Research Book of the Year. She has contributed to many exhibition catalogues including those published by the National Galleries of Scotland – The Scottish Colourists 1900-1930 (with Philip Long, 2000), the series on the individual Scottish Colourists (2012-13) and Modern Scottish Women Artists (2016). In 2012 she edited The Art of Modern Tapestry: Dovecot Studios since 1912 (Lund Humphries: 2012), with contributions from 40 weavers, artists and patrons in addition to her detailed history of the studio.

Elizabeth's current projects include a monograph on Robin Philipson (Sansom & Company: 2018) and the Scottish chapter for a major new book on Arts and Crafts enamelling (ArtMedia: 2019). Her research and publications have been generously supported by a Kerr Fry Award, the Carnegie Trust, the Inches Carr Trust and the Pasold Fund.