Smith Art Gallery & Museum
Nestling beneath Stirling Castle, in the King's Park, the ancient hunting grounds of the Stuart monarchs, and now a suburb of opulent Victorian mansions, is the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. The Stirling Smith was founded in 1874 from the bequest of the artist Thomas Stuart Smith (d1869).
It has a fine collection of Scottish painting, including work by Alexander Nasmyth, Sir William Allen and John Duncan. Stirling, in an area of great scenic beauty, has always attracted artists, as the collections show.
There are 74 sketches of Stirling people by Sir George Harvey P.R.S.A. (1806-1876), later worked into his great Scottish history paintings. For many years the artist Joseph Denovan Adam (1841-1896) ran Scotland's only school of animal painting, keeping his own fold of Highland cattle and other animals for his students to paint. Today artists like Steven Campbell live and work here.
The Stirling Smith has one of the most important, and least known, Scottish history collections.
There many remarkable pieces including:
- The oldest dated curling stone(1511) in the world
- The Stirling jug, dating from 1457, the measure by all Scottish measures were regulated
- Ancient tartans, woven in Wilson's Mills in Bannockburn
- A figure of Justice so old, that she does not have the traditional blindfold, used from the 16th century onwards.
- "The Stirling Story" is a permanent exhibition, which looks at the history of Stirling over the past millennium. The Stirling Story is made up of hundreds of fascinating stories. Make your own copy of the Stirling Seal.
- Get into the spirit of the Renaissance by trying on the clothes and listening to the music. A changing programme of temporary exhibitions on a range of subjects and media, together with lunchtime talks and other events contribute to make the Smith a lively and welcoming visitor attraction.
- Ailie's Garden, a 24 hour gallery, biodiversity garden and area created for children's activities and picnicking, is at the back of the Smith.
The Stirling Smith is a good base from which to explore Stirling. Park free at the Smith, and take the Back Walk to Stirling Castle and the Old Town Jail. Come back for coffee, lunch or afternoon tea in the Smith's café.
Other facilities include a café serving lunches and light refreshments, shop, lecture and conference room, free admission, car park and access for wheelchair users.
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Smith Art Gallery & Museum Postcode for SatNav: FK8 2RQ