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Henry Morley (1870-1937)

henry morley a stirling artist

The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum are to honour the memory of one of Stirling's best known and best loved artists nearly seventy years after his death.

An exhibition of his paintings will take place in the Stirling Smith from 6th November till 30 January; the first time that his work has been shown in a public gallery since his death in 1937. Numbering over sixty works, mainly in oils but also including watercolours, pastels and etchings the exhibition covers the main period of Morley's out put from the late 1890's to the 1920s.

Specialising as a landscape artist, Henry Morley captured many well known local views on canvas, especially of the St Ninians and Whins of Milton areas and numerous depictions of Stirling Castle. Morley also painted around Thornhill, where his brother-in-law was Minister at Norrieston Church.
He became particularly associated with paintings of Clydesdale horses at work in the fields and in the stone quarries around Stirling.

Henry Morley was born in Nottingham in 1870 and trained in Paris before coming to Stirling to study art at Craigmill with the renowned Highland Cattle painter, Joseph Denovan Adam (1841-1896). He married Stirling girl Isobel Miller Hutchison in 1901. She was the daughter of Andrew Fleming Hutchison, the Rector of Stirling High School. Isobel was also an artist as well as a talented metal worker. The exhibition also features a number of works by her.

Morley was a popular artist in his day and many of his works were purchased by Stirling residents via the triennial exhibitions of the Stirling Fine Art Association held at the Smith. Many others were purchased directly from Morley himself at his studio. Many remain in private hands today and the exhibition mainly draws on private collections, both locally, but also stretching as far away as Cornwall.

Some are drawn from the Stirling Smith collections and were gifted by the Morley family. One is on loan from Nottingham City Museums and Art Galleries; the place of his birth.

In 1910 Henry and Isobel Morley moved into their arts and crafts house, The Gables, built specially for them and Henry lived there until his death in 1937. The Morleys were prominent citizens and many well known artists visited them at The Gables - including Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Their contribution to the history of the area is acknowledged by 'Morley Crescent' being named after them.

Morley's life and art have been documented in a catalogue published by the Smith to accompany the exhibition. Funding for this and the other costs of mounting such a major exhibition have been provided by the Scottish Museums Council, and numerous private sponsors, many from the Thornhill area following a fundraising campaign by Kerr Doig, an active supporter of the Smith.

The exhibition will be officially opened by Lys Hansen, Stirling's leading international artist, on the evening of Friday 5 November at an event to be hosted by the Friends of the Smith.

The exhibition will run until 30 January 2005. Admission is FREE.

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