Surrounded by fertile agricultural land and beautiful scenery, the bustling market town of PERTH was Scotland’s capital in the fifteenth century, and expanded in the eighteenth. Today, with the whisky and insurance trades employing significant numbers, it remains an important town.
Two large areas of green parkland, known as the North and South Inch, flank the centre; the city’s main shopping areas are High Street and South Street, as well as St John’s shopping centre on King Edward Street. Perth is at its most attractive along Tay Street, with a succession of grander buildings along one side and the attractively landscaped riverside embankment on the other.
Perth’s highlight is the Fergusson Gallery, occupying a striking round Victorian sandstone water tower, and home to an extensive collection of work by J.D. Fergusson, foremost artist of the Scottish Colourist movement. Greatly influenced by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, he created a distinctive approach that marries both movements’ freedom of style with bold use of colour and lighting – shown, for example, in his portrait of Elizabeth Dryden, The Hat with the Pink Scarf. As well as oils, the collection includes sketches, notebooks and sculpture: among the latter, look out for Eastre: Hymn to the Sun, an exotic and radiant brass head inspired by his dancer wife and collaborator Margaret Morris.