The eleventh Annual Christian Aid Sale of Pictures and Scottish Books is now on at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church on George Street.

The art sale raises funds for Christian Aid and is taking place again in Edinburgh, promising a fine selection of paintings from many eminent Scottish artists of past and present. Also available at the sale will be a range of Scottish books, ephemera and maps. 

Of particular note this year are two large works by Midlothian-based artist Victoria Crowe and a rare first edition by Robert Louis Stevenson’s uncle Alan Stevenson detailing the design and construction of the Skerryvore lighthouse (Scotland’s tallest lighthouse) with many beautiful engravings and maps.

The ‘Sale of Pictures’ takes place at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church on George Street between 14-16 October.  Notable highlights this year by contemporary artists include works by Victoria Crowe, Henry Kondracki, Jennifer McRae, Susie Leiper, Douglas Davies, Lynn McGregor, Richard Demarco, Carola Gordon, and Ann Oram.

Notable artists of the past are also well represented, including a rare pencil sketch by Sir David Wilkie of “The Forth and Firth from Edinburgh’s New Town”, and works by John Faed, HW ‘Grecian’ Williams, and Sam Bough.

The Sale will also bring back Scottish books, ephemera and maps this year.  The outstanding book in the Sale is a wonderful first edition (1848) of Account of the Skerryvore Lighthouse by Alan Stevenson (uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson), who was the engineer commissioned by the Northern Lighthouse Board to build what is said to be “the most beautiful lighthouse in the world.” The wide range of Scottish literature on offer includes Robert Louis Stevenson, Burns, Carlyle, Scott, Alasdair Gray, and George Mackay Brown whose centenary this is. And general paperbacks will be available to buy — in response to the high demand at the May Sale.

The special picture hanging arrangements introduced last October are in place again to make the sale as safe as possible in line with current Scottish Government Covid-19 guidelines.

The Sale’s Convener of Pictures (and former Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery) James Holloway said: “Against all the odds and exceeding our expectations, last autumn’s Sale was a triumph. This year we will again use the system of hanging the pictures introduced last October for health reasons. It proved remarkably effective and popular, and gave our buyers great pleasure. Most important, it helped sell more pictures, thus increasing the funds to help the neediest right across the world. The pandemic has spared no one. In Scotland we are lucky to have vaccines and an efficient and dedicated health service, but in much of the rest of the world the present situation and the future are very worrying. The Christian Aid Sale of Pictures will make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. What cause could be more worthwhile?”

Head of Christian Aid Scotland Sally Foster-Fulton said: “We are so pleased that once again, despite challenging circumstances, the sale will go ahead at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church. With a fantastic medley of original art, books, maps and other collectable items you may well find yourself something rather special! The money raised will go towards our Harvest Appeal, which this year focuses on Malawi: a country on the frontline of the climate crisis where communities have lost homes, livestock and livelihoods due to extreme weather and storms. I believe art has the power to reveal things often left unseen. As the UN climate summit, COP26, comes to Glasgow, it feels more important than ever to look closely – and to act quickly – at the impact of the climate crisis on those most vulnerable. Thank you to all who have organised this event and those who will visit.  Your fundraising has never been more vital.”

The Sale will be held from Thursday to Saturday, 14-16 October, from 10am to 5pm on Thursday and Friday, and from 10am to 3pm on Saturday. Homemade cakes and preserves will be available at the special coffee morning in the Undercroft Cafe on Saturday, 16 October, from 10am to 12 noon.

All photos Colin Hattersley –  Pictured are Edinburgh and Midlothian based artist Victoria Crowe and James Holloway art sale convenor of paintings (and former Scottish National Portrait Gallery director, until 2012) with two paintings that Victoria has donated to the sale.