NHS Fife provides a comprehensive range of primary, community-based and acute hospital services for the population of Fife, some 360,000 people

We believe there is good evidence that art work has a positive effect on wellbeing and health, and we recognise the importance that art plays in creating an environment conducive to good health and wellbeing. Our collection of artwork is intended to be enjoyed by patients, their visitors and staff alike.

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48 Pensioners

by

James Cumming

48Pensioners
48 Pensioners by James Cumming
Acrylic on paper
60.4 x 49.2 cm

Reg. Number: NHSF00163

In the NHS Fife collection.


Print Label Print Label

James Cumming was born in 1922 in Dunfermline, Fife and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1939 to 1941. He won a travelling Scholarship to Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis, which resulted his acclaimed series of Hebridean paintings that are expressive and abstract.

His approach to art has been described as part-archaeological and part-sociologically-scientific. His first pieces were figurative and abstract, painting portraits that were dynamic. He would apply paint and scrape it away with a pallet knife, exposing different layers of paint. His later paintings were more geometric, inspired by his experimentation with an electronic microscope. The result was a series of paintings which focused on chromosomes. Following this, Cumming later turned to focus on still lives. However throughout all of his work, Cumming has continued to employ a restricted colour palette; experimentations with which he demonstrates an acute sensitivity.

James served 5 years with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve from 1941 to 1946, after which he resumed his studies until 1950 and was awarded a post-graduate and travelling scholarship. In 1950 James was appointed Lecturer in History and Tutor in Painting at Edinburgh College of Art and taught there for many years. He received a Royal Scottish Academy Award in 1951 and in 1955 he had a one-man show at Gallery One in London, followed by many more and particularly at the Loomshop Gallery in Lower Largo, Fife. He also exhibited in many group exhibitions in England, Scotland, France, Canada, Wales, Holland, Switzerland, and New York.

A series of retrospective exhibitions was held including the Lothian Region Gallery, Edinburgh in 1981. John was a member of the Society of Scottish Artists and President from 1958 to 1961. He was also a member of the Royal Scottish Academy for whom he was Treasurer & Secretary and a Member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours.

For a long time his inspiration came from life on the Isle of Lewis, but in the early 1960s he started to examine abstract themes. In 1964 he was awarded an International Scholarship in the Humanities, Harvard University, USA. Other awards included a Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours prize in 1977 and Lothian Region Prize in the RSW Centenary Exhibition, Edinburgh in 1980. He died in 1991. A memorial show was held in 1995 at The Scottish Gallery, in Edinburgh, where James lived.
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Since 1991 our charity has been assembling one of the largest and most prestigious Collections of original Scottish art in the country. These artworks are uniquely available for display in hospitals and other healthcare settings.


Art in Healthcare is truly committed to the important role that art plays in the healing environment but we need your help to properly maintain and build this unique Collection for the enjoyment and benefit of the hundreds of thousands of staff, patients and visitors who view it each year.


With your help we're able to:


Keep our Collection on display in hospitals and care homes
Support young artists at their degree shows
Buy artwork from professional artists
Provide fun-filled art workshops for patients and care home residents
Develop our training programmes for volunteers


Adopt an artwork from our Collection for just £3 a month and you'll receive:


Your name (or a loved one's) written next to your chosen artwork online
A certificate of adoption with a picture of the artwork
Invites to Art in Healthcare's special events
First to view our latest Prestigious Print
Our colourful e-newsletter


"My patients really enjoy looking at our collection. Sometimes they even do an 'art tour' around the premises." ~ Barron Dental Practice


You can adopt an artwork in the gallery, if it hasn't already been adopted, by clicking the 'Adopt Me' button below the picture of the artwork.


NHS Fife provides a comprehensive range of primary, community-based and acute hospital services for the population of Fife, some 360,000 people

We believe there is good evidence that art work has a positive effect on wellbeing and health, and we recognise the importance that art plays in creating an environment conducive to good health and wellbeing. Our collection of artwork is intended to be enjoyed by patients, their visitors and staff alike.

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