Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness (hardback)

National Galleries of Scotland
Alison Watt, Julie Lawson, Tom Normand & Andrew O'Hagan
Page count:
96 printed pages
33 colour
Item Size:
30 x 23.5 cm

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Winner of the Book Cover of the Year​ at the Scottish National Book Awards 2022.

New beautiful, illustrated art book of a series of new paintings by artist Alison Watt. This is the first appearance in print of a series of new paintings by Alison Watt, one of Scotland’s most distinguished artists. 

In sixteen emphatically modern new paintings, renowned artist, Alison Watt, responds to the remarkable delicacy of the female portraits by eighteenth-century Scottish portraitist, Allan Ramsay, in a new light. The portraits of his two wives, featured in this book, are among the most-loved paintings at the National Galleries of Scotland, and this book uncovers new meaning in these works.

Watt’s new works are particularly inspired by Ramsay’s much-loved portrait of his wife, along with less familiar portraits and drawings. Watt shines a light on enigmatic details in Ramsay’s work and has created paintings which hover between the genres of still life and portraiture.

In conversation with curator Julie Lawson, Chief Curator Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Watt discusses how painters look at paintings, explains why Ramsay inspired her, and provides unique insight into her own creative process.

Andrew O’Hagan responds to Watt’s paintings with a new work of short fiction and art historian Tom Normand’s commentary explores further layers of depth to our understanding of both artists. Andrew O'Hagan has been awarded the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Tom Normand is Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews and an Honorary Member of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art.