The Story of Scottish Art

Candia McWilliam at Literary Review:

The painter and broadcaster Lachlan Goudie could not introduce The Story of Scottish Art in a more personal fashion. His preface begins, ‘My father, Alexander Goudie, was a painter; I grew up surrounded by Scottish art, I’ve been depicted in it and I’ve spent my adult life trying to add in some small way to its legacy. I am not, however, an academic, and this is not a textbook.’ Whether those words are meant to offer relief or be a warning is unclear, but I think the implication is that academics are pedantic and textbooks dry. Fairly often, alas, academics do not seem to be aware that they might treat language as a collaborator, even a medium, and textbooks, unless written exclusively in symbols and figures, in which case I must trust that they are beautiful, are unintelligible.

more here.