Skip to content

Opens Saturday 11 May

Adam Bruce Thomson (1885-1976) was one of the most quietly impactful artists of his generation. Born in Edinburgh, he was among the earliest intake of students to train at Edinburgh College of Art, following its establishment in 1908.

He went on to teach at the College for another forty years, supporting successive cohorts of young artists. In his own practice, Thomson worked across a range of media, mastering various printmaking techniques, drawing in pastels, and painting in oils and watercolours. His subject-matter was similarly diverse, spanning portraiture, still life, architecture and landscape themes.

Thomson exhibited widely and was well-respected by his peers, receiving an OBE in 1963. However, as a naturally modest individual, his understated approach often denied him the spotlight. To date, his contribution to twentieth-century Scottish art remains largely unexplored.

The forthcoming exhibition Adam Bruce Thomson: The Quiet Path aims to bring this talented artist back to public attention. Arranged over two floors of the City Art Centre, the display will chart Thomson’s extensive career, from his early student compositions to the evocative Scottish landscapes of his maturity. It will trace his stylistic development, and examine his important role as a teacher, mentor and friend to other artists. Featuring key artworks on loan from public and private collections, this will be the first ever major retrospective on Thomson to be held in a public gallery.

The exhibition is accompanied by the new book Adam Bruce Thomson: The Quiet Path (Sansom & Company), due for publication in spring 2024.

Events programme


Saturday 18 May, 11am - 1pm - Clay Landscape Tiles

Saturday 6 July, 2pm - 4pm - Collaging Edinburgh

Saturday 27 July, 11am - 1pm - Printed Landscapes

Saturday 17 August, 2pm - 4pm - A View from my Window



Saturday 18 May, 7pm - Digital described tour of key works

Saturday 17 August, 7pm - Digital BSL tour of the exhibition



Saturday 6 July, 10.30am - 3.30pm - Uniquely Edinburgh

Saturday 28 September, 10.30am - 3.30pm - An Original Perspective

Saturday 5 October, 10.30am - 3.30pm - From Our Windows...



Friday 19 July, 2pm - Serenity and Strife: The Art of Robin Philipson

Thursday 8 August, 2pm - The Union Canal

Friday 16 August, 2pm - Queen of Edinburgh: Anne Redpath and her Circle

Wednesday 21 August, 2pm - Phyllis Bone: Edinburgh's Animal Sculptor

Thursday 26 September, 2pm - The History of Edinburgh College of Art: Professor Duncan Macmillan

Friday 27 September, 2pm - Down the Quiet Path: In Search of Adam Bruce Thomson

Thursday 3 October, 2pm - Edinburgh in the 1930s

Friday 4 October, 2pm - The Edinburgh School: Influences and Reflections




Book cover with a painting by Adam Bruce Thomson shows a peaceful path surrounded by nature.

Adam Bruce Thomson - Described Tour

Adam Bruce Thomson Described Tour

Adam Bruce Thomson: The Quiet Path

Coming soon