Cordelia Oliver and Scottish Art Criticism

  • Susannah Thompson (Lecturer)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar


Cordelia Oliver and Scottish Art Criticism

Invited talk to link with the National Galleries of Scotland 'Modern Scottish Women' exhibition. Talk outline used in publicity: In this lecture, Dr Susannah Thompson, Edinburgh College of Art, will look at the relationship between the production of mid-twentieth century painting and sculpture by women in Scotland and the art criticism which responded to it, looking specifically at the role played by the Scottish artist, critic and curator Cordelia Oliver (1923-2009). Oliver, a painter and graduate of Glasgow School of Art, was an incisive and highly respected theatre and visual art critic for The Guardian, The Times, The Herald, Plays and Players, Plays International, ArtWork and many other publications. She organised numerous exhibitions and events on the work of Scottish artists and was deeply embedded in the cultural life of Scotland. Through her writing and curating she offered a unique perspective on the production and reception of art from Scotland, including that of many of her friends and associates such as Bet Low, Margot Sandeman, Joan Eardley, Kathleen Mann, Winifred Nicholson and Pat Douthwaite. Along with looking at Oliver's criticism, the lecture will look more broadly at the cultural, ideological and institutional reasons for the gaps in canonical historical accounts of Scottish art in relation to art by women, and how ephemeral sources, personal archives and first-hand accounts can redress historical oversights and offer a more inclusive, representative and revisionist history of recent Scottish art.
Period25 Apr 2016
Event typeExhibition
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionRegional


  • Scotland