“The Most Beautiful Gallery in Britain.” – Laura Cumming, The Observer, August, 2016
Inverleith House is the most highly respected, valued, and internationally recognised public gallery for contemporary art in Scotland. Located within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Inverleith House was built in 1774 and was the home of successive Regius Keepers of the Garden until it became the founding home of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (1960-1984). Under the curatorship of Paul Nesbitt for the last 30 years it has presented a continuous programme of originated exhibitions, providing the public with a unique mixture of contemporary art and botany, highlighting the relationship between art and science. The critically-acclaimed exhibition programme has nurtured contemporary art in Scotland, presenting Scottish artists such as Karla Black, Douglas Gordon, and Richard Wright alongside high profile international artists like Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Ryman, and Lawrence Weiner; many of whom made work specifically for the building. Inverleith House has presented more exhibitions by Turner Prize winners and nominees than any other gallery in the UK apart from Tate. A list of exhibitions at Inverleith House is available here. A home to art for more than 50 years, Inverleith House has frequently been described as the most beautiful space to view contemporary art in Britain and, for the last 30 years, has given many garden visitors their first experience of world-class contemporary art.
"The gallery’s director, Paul Nesbitt, had only one assistant. Total funding over the course of 22 years since 1994 was a paltry £1.5 million ($1.8 million), yet on this shoestring, Nesbitt created a world-class program that embraced leading contemporary artists from the U.K. and abroad."-Clare Henry, ARTNEWS, 31st October, 2016
Supported by Creative Scotland and its predecessor the Scottish Arts Council since 1994, Inverleith House was unsuccessful in its application to Creative Scotland for Regular Funding in 2014. In December of 2015 it was awarded Project Funding for four projects, one of which was the commissioning of "an independent Strategic Report informing the development of a sustainable model for the continued presentation of world-class contemporary art exhibitions at Inverleith." In a statement issued on the 18th of October, 2016 the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh announced the decision taken by its Board of Trustees on the 5th of October 2016 to permanently close Inverleith House as a space dedicated to contemporary art. The decision of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was announced with just a few days’ notice, with no public consultation, and offered no clear plan for the future of Inverleith House.
Inverleith House is the beating heart of contemporary art in Scotland. Please sign the petition and help to save Inverleith House.