Edinburgh College of Art

Edinburgh College of Art

name =Edinburgh College of Art
native_name =
latin_name =

motto =
established =1760
type =Art school
endowment =
staff =
faculty =
chancellor =
principal = Professor Ian Howard
dean =
rector =
free_label =
students =
undergrad =
postgrad =
doctoral =
city =Edinburgh
country =Scotland
campus =
affiliations =University of Edinburgh,
website = [http://www.eca.ac.uk www.eca.ac.uk]

Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) is an art school in Edinburgh, Scotland, providing tertiary education in art and design disciplines for over two thousand students.

ECA is located in the Old Town of Edinburgh, overlooking the Grassmarket, and not far from Edinburgh University's George Square campus. The college was founded in 1760, and gained its present name and site in 1907. Formerly associated with Heriot-Watt University, it is now independent, with Edinburgh University now accrediting the college's degrees.


ECA can trace its history back to 1760, when the Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh was established by the Board of Trustees for Fisheries, Manufactures and Improvements in Scotland. This board had been set up by Act of Parliament in 1727 to "encourage and promote the fisheries or such other manufactures and improvements in Scotland as may most conduce to the general good of the United Kingdom", and was also responsible for the construction of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The aim of the academy was to train designers for the manufacturing industries. Drawing and the design of patterns for the textile industries were taught at the Academy's rooms at Picardy Place.

From 1826 classes were held at the Royal Institution building, now the Royal Scottish Academy on The Mound. The Master of the School was always a fine artist, the first being French painter William Delacour. Subsequent masters included Alexander Runciman and David Allan. The Academy's focus gradually shifted from applied arts to encompass fine art, and the school gained a reputation for excellence in both painting and design. Scottish artists who were trained at the Academy include John Brown, Alexander Nasmyth and Andrew Wilson.

In 1858 the Academy was affiliated to the Science and Art Department in London, known as the "South Kensington system", under which it became the Government School of Art for the city of Edinburgh. A School of Applied Art was also established under this system. The Drawing School became part of a system of schools managed on similar lines, and distinctive teaching practices were lost. In 1903 it amalgamated with the School of Applied Art. In 1907 the Scottish Education Department took over responsibility for the school, and it became Edinburgh College of Art.

The College has always been an independent institution, and is now officially recognised by the Scottish Government as a Small Specialist Institution for the teaching of art, design and architecture. From 1968 to 2004, it was associated with Heriot-Watt University for degreeawarding purposes. Today's students graduate from the College with degrees awarded by the University of Edinburgh. The two institutions are partners in an academic federation.

In 2005 the College joined with Napier University to launch the Screen Academy Scotland, a new centre of excellence in film practice education.

The College Buildings

With the creation of Edinburgh College of Art in 1907, the institution moved to new premises on Lady Lawson Street. Formerly a cattle market, the site lies above the Grassmarket and opposite Edinburgh Castle. The red sandstone main building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by JM Dick Peddie and George Washington Brown, and was completed in 1909. The main building was listed Category A in 1970. Inside, the Sculpture Court displays casts of the Elgin Marbles and other antique statuary, alongside changing displays of contemporary student's work.

The Architecture Building was added to the east end of the college in 1961, designed by architect Ralph Cowan, who was a Professor of Architecture at the college. In 1972 the campus was completed in its present form with the addition of the Hunter Building. This L-shaped red sandstone block encloses the college courtyard, and fronts Lauriston Place to the south. In the 1990s the college took over a separate group of buildings in the Grassmarket, for use as a library and teaching space, and also took over the former Salvation Army building on West Port.

The nine-storey Evolution House on West Port by Reiach and Hall Architects was completed 2003, adjacent to the main college building. Built as speculative offices, it now houses the administrive functions and the main library, as well as many new design studios. The College is now concentrated on a single site, and the Grassmarket (1st Year studies) and former Salvation Army buildings (Animation and Post-graduate Tapestry studios) are no longer used.

Notable alumni and academics

* Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, architect, president of the Royal Academy
* Robert Matthew, architect
* Patrick Nuttgens, architect and academic
* Sir Basil Spence, architect
* Sir William Kininmonth, architect
* Sir James Dunbar-Nasmith, conservation architect and former head of the Department of Architecture (1978-1988)
* Rab and Denise Bennetts, architects, founders of Bennetts Associates

* Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, artist
* Paul Carter, artist
* Stanley Cursiter, artist
* Keith Farquhar, artist
* William Geissler, artist
* William George Gillies, artist
* William Green, artist
* Gwen Hardie, artist
* William McLaren, artist
* David Michie, artist
* John Maxwell, artist
* Sir Robin Philipson, artist
* Anne Redpath, artist
* Richard Wright, artist

* John Bellany, painter
* William Crozier, painter
* Molly Garnier, painter
* William Gear, painter
* Nicola Green, painter
* Callum Innes, painter and Turner Prize nominee
* Sir William MacTaggart, painter
* Alexander Moffat, painter and lecturer
* Christopher Wood, painter

* Hew Lorimer, sculptor
* James Pittendrigh MacGillivray, sculptor
* Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, sculptor and artist
* Christopher Hall, sculptor
* Alexander Carrick, sculptor and academic

* Roy Williamson, member of The Corries, and author of "Flower of Scotland"
* The Rezillos, 1970s new wave band, featuring Jo Callis who went on to The Human League
* The Magnificents, Scottish rock band
* Sandy Brown, Scottish Jazz clarinettist

* Alan Bold, poet
* Ruthven Todd, poet, novelist
* Scott Lawrie, Advertising Copywriter, founder XXVI

* Adam Robson, rugby player, former head of the Scottish Rugby Union
* David Harding, environmental artist and lecturer
* Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie, founders of the UK-based creative organisation Somewhere

ee also

* List of further and higher education colleges in Scotland
* University of Edinburgh


*"Notes on the Early History of the Royal Scottish Academy", George Harvey, (Edmonston & Douglas, 1873)
* [http://www.gashe.ac.uk:443/public_docs/isaar/C1267.html Archives of Scottish Higher Education] See also, Scott Lawrie - The History of Edinburgh College of Art 1906-1969, MPhil Thesis, 1995. Copies held in ECA library and Heriot Watt University Library.

External links

* [http://www.eca.ac.uk/ Edinburgh College of Art home page]

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