National Gallery painting goes on display in The Walled Garden Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub in Perth, as part of ‘Jan van Huysum Visits’ (31 July – 8 August 2021)

A Dutch masterpiece from the National Gallery, Jan van Huysum’s Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (1736–7), will go on display at The Walled Garden beside the Murray Royal Hospital in Perth from tomorrow (31 July) to Sunday 8 August. The venue is part of the Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service (PKAVS).

Perth is the only Scottish venue and the penultimate stop on the Jan van Huysum Visits tour.

Image: Jan van Huysum, ‘Flowers in a Terracotta Vase’, 1736-7
The Walled Garden Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub is a tranquil haven for people recovering from mental illness and members of the public alike, and has a café, art studio and shop onsite. The location was selected to encourage people to explore their local community and link art with their surroundings, offering a much-needed reprieve from the challenges of living life during a global pandemic.

Each display on the ‘Jan van Huysum Visits’ tour explores one of the six ‘Ways to Wellbeing’: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give, and Care (for the planet). The theme for the Perth display is ‘Care (for the planet)’. The tour promotes ways in which art and culture can support wellbeing and reach audiences who have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and the UK lockdown.

As part of the project, artist Frances Law has been running art workshops with groups in the community to promote positivity and mental wellbeing. Inspired by The Walled Garden, participants produced sketches and acrylic paintings in vibrant colours – yellow for optimism and wellbeing; red for vitality and strength; blue for wisdom and steadiness; green for security and balance, and purple for creativity. They collaborated with Blairgowrie-based weaver Ashleigh Slater who transformed the colours into a unique tartan design to celebrate the project and promote wellbeing. The group named the tartan ‘Pride of Wellbeing’, which will be displayed alongside the painting. The tartan has been registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans and will be added to their database of tartan designs.

Engagement with local communities is at the heart of ‘Jan van Huysum Visits’. The National Gallery is working closely with PKAVS Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub and with Culture Perth and Kinross to ensure that as many people as possible can engage with the painting and make it come alive in new and different ways.

‘Jan van Huysum Visits’ is one of the Gallery’s national partnerships which aim to share paintings across the UK, creating a range of ways for the widest possible audience to explore and be inspired by the collection.

National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, says, ‘This astounding, large flower painting will make an unexpected appearance in unexpected venues across the country. I hope it will make people think about art and the beauty of nature, encourage their own creativity and inspire them to visit their own local museum or art collection.’

JP Reid, Senior Programming & Interpretation Officer at Culture Perth and Kinross, said, ‘We are thrilled to have been able to work with colleagues from PKAVS and the National Gallery to bring this wonderful painting to Perth. The Walled Garden is one of Perth & Kinross’s treasures – a truly inspiring place. ‘Flowers in a Terracotta Vase’ is a dazzling work of artistic mastery. We hope that by displaying the painting amongst the flowers and plants of the walled garden, we can create an opportunity for people to be inspired and uplifted by art and nature.’

Caitlin Sweeney, Activity Engagement Worker for Creative Wellbeing at PKAVS Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, said, ‘We are so excited to host the painting, Jan van Huysum’s spectacular ‘Flowers in a Terracotta Vase’. This is a real honour for our service and puts The Walled Garden on the map. It is so important for us to have the opportunity to share the work our charity does and raise awareness.

We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back into our garden to appreciate our beautiful and serene surroundings, highlighting the importance of mental wellbeing.

After working alongside strict COVID-19 guidelines, it’s been refreshing to engage in a collaborative, community-based project. Having new and varied opportunities to engage with aids peoples’ sense of motivation, skills and confidence. As a mental health and wellbeing service, we embrace any partnerships which will support our client’s recovery journey.’

‘Flowers in a Terracotta Vase’ will be on view at The Walled Garden, based in the grounds of the Murray Royal Hospital, from 31 July to 8 August 2021, between 10am and 3pm every day.