A Day at Coburg House, Edinburgh

Val Menon artworks from the exhibition Seeing Kerala at Coburg House

On Saturday my husband and I took a trip into Edinburgh to Coburg House (it’s been ages since I last blogged about an art gallery or an artist). It was a pleasure passing through some of my old haunts (such as the Botanical Gardens where I used to share my lunch with the local squirrels) on my way there.

Coburg House in Leith was a granary in a previous life but has been the artistic hub for the community for over 10 years. As well as hosting artists’ exhibitions Coburg House also run classes and workshops, you can find out more about them here.

On the weekend I visited (25-26 November) the exhibition “Val Menon- Seeing Kerala” was on, and what an absolutely delightful surprise it was!  My own background is in art history, and specifically 20th century art. Many of the artists I’ve studied are either dead or so famous that getting an interview is nigh impossible so talking with an artist who is currently working through their own ideas and also willing to talk about the journey is incredibly fascinating. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Val about her works and wasn’t surprised to hear that she trained in sculpture. Val has an extraordinary understanding of space, and the use of brushwork – the layering – gives the paintings an incredibly tactile quality. The focus of this work is Kerala in South India, where her husband and his family are from. From Val Menon’s site:

“Inspired by the natural environment, recent projects have taken me to Kerala and to the Nilgiri Mountains (Blue Mountains) in Southern India. The paintings aim to show an unpremeditated approach to exploring character and sense of place in this tropical climate”

Val Menon artworks from the exhibition Seeing Kerala at Coburg House

Val Menon artworks from the exhibition Seeing Kerala at Coburg House

Val Menon reminded me of another great Scottish woman artist Joan Eardley. Both artists evoke an atmosphere of time and place in their landscapes through an almost impressionistic brushwork. In Menon’s case the warm climate and vibrancy of Kerala is conjured up in strong, bold strokes. Despite the boldness these works feel intimate, someone’s recollection of their own history and memory. There’s a quiet, meditativeness in the smaller work Study For Impermanence. Overall I was hugely impressed with Val’s works and also Val herself. Do have a visit at her website here for more information.

Val Menon artworks from the exhibition Seeing Kerala at Coburg House

ceramics at Coburg House

As well as Coburg House being a thriving hub of the artistic community there is also a shop where you can buy works from the resident artists such as jewellery, ceramics and prints. Making it an ideal place to pick up an unusual and unique Christmas present for someone.


This weekend at Coburg House (2nd-3rd Dec) is their Open Studios. Over 80s artists will be letting you see behind the scenes including painters, textile designers, jewellers, and many more. This would definitely be fascinating for anyone with an interest in the creation of a work.



*I was invited along to Coburg House, I wasn’t paid in anyway for this post. All thoughts definitely my own.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *