Hidden down the cobbled streets of the New Town of Edinburgh is the former Meeting House of the Glasites, a Scottish religious sect of followers of John Glas (1695-1773), who was removed from the Church of Scotland ministry in 1730 for his beliefs. The first Glasite church was founded in Dundee and the Edinburgh church was established in 1755, relocating to their architecturally simple building in Barony Street in the 1830′s where they remained until the sect dissolved in 1989.
The building, now owned by the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, is occupied by the Ingleby Gallery after a sympathetic restoration which has a touch of contemporary colour but retains many old features. The last time I visited the Ingleby, it was located in an old building near to Waverley Station – a good geographical counterpoint to the Fruitmarket Gallery, currently closed for expansion and redevelopment, at the other side of the station.
The current exhibition in the main meeting room space of the Glasite has synergies with the building itself as French artist Martine Hugonnier explores changes in art and images over time, in this case with sequential printing of Pan Am travel posters and with the restoration of paintings which she had acquired, and you can see a link with the subtle internal changes over time to the Glasite Meeting Room itself.
Upstairs, as you pass David Austin’s ‘Groan’ and David Batchelor’s ‘Glowstick’ on the staircase, in the first floor gallery with views across to the adjacent stone buildings was a selection from artists represented by the gallery including Kevin Harman, Jane Bustin, Jonny Lyons and Andrew Cranson and more work by the two Davids. How many galleries do you know have a fire burning, even if the weather outside is ghastly?