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2 Dec 2020

What’s Up with Hornel

Written by Real Reviews
Black and white photo of a Japanese lady playing a shamisen in front of a screen decorated with cherry blossom.
A Japanese woman playing a shamisen, attributed to Tamamura Kōzaburō, before 1921, Yokohama shashin print
Some of the paintings from Broughton House have moved to Edinburgh City Art Centre. If you’re looking for a day trip out with the family or just by yourself, the Hornel exhibition is a great place to go.

The exhibition is at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh and it’s right across from the train station, so is in a very convenient place. It has a very nice gift shop that sells all sorts of things. I found a lovely plant pot for my cactus. The exhibition is on the second floor but there are exhibitions on the other floors too.

As you go round all the different paintings you see a variety of cultures depicted by Hornel. He took pictures of Japanese and Sri Lankan girls and women while he was travelling and then brought the photos back to Scotland with him. He then asked young girls to copy the poses in the photos while he painted them. In the exhibition you can see the original photos and the paintings side by side. They are easily compared to show the similarities and that he often just copied the photo pose but with a different background. It’s quite noticeable that he changed the expressions on the girls’ faces from serious in his photographs to happy in his paintings. This might have been because he thought people would want to buy paintings showing a happy childhood scene. The paintings are vibrant and eye-catching.

The exhibition is very COVID-friendly because only a certain number of people are allowed on any floor of the gallery at one time and face masks are required at all times. It’s close to shops and cafés, so is in a great place to just stop by for half an hour with timed entry. There are multiple tour guides who are ready to help and answer questions.

In conclusion, I think that the Hornel exhibition is a great place to go because of its convenient location and its beautiful paintings. It made me feel sunny on a cold winter day. I strongly recommend going there.


Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 related restrictions, the exhibition E. A. Hornel: From Camera to Canvas is now closed.

However, you can see lots of great shots from inside the exhibition in our walk-through gallery

The exhibition catalogue is also still available to purchase from our online shop

Oil painting showing three girls sitting among roses with a beach and blue sea in the background.
Seashore Roses, E A Hornel, c1907, oil on canvas (Courtesy of City Art Centre, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh)

Thank you to our young writer Margaret for reviewing her trip to E. A. Hornel: From Camera to Canvas.

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