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Kirkcaldy deemed second biggest ‘arts capital’ of Scotland by new study

Kirkcaldy's appetite for art was revealed by a marketplace study. Picture: DCT Media.
Kirkcaldy's appetite for art was revealed by a marketplace study. Picture: DCT Media.

Kirkcaldy has revealed itself to be an unexpected hotbed of art trading in a new study by Artfinder, the UK’s largest art marketplace.

The “Art Capitals” study found that Kirkcaldy is Scotland’s second most popular town for art sales, with Motherwell coming out on top, showing the huge (and growing) appetite for original art in Scotland’s historically working class areas.

And the Lang Toun was only bumped down one place when the study looked at the UK as a whole, making it the third-biggest art buying town nationwide, with 2,607 artworks bought per 100,000 inhabitants.

Out of the top 10 UK “art towns”, four were found to be in Scotland – Motherwell, Kirkcaldy, Kilmarnock and Paisley.

The UK Art Capital crown was awarded to Redhill, Surrey, which saw an average of 3,198 art sales per 100,000 inhabitants over the course of the study, based on purchase figures from 2017-2021.

And interestingly, smaller towns outdid cities across the UK, with the top ten arty towns selling more than four times the total sold in the more populous cities.

Artists Arthur 'Spud" Mitchell and Phil Cooke at Kirkcaldy Art Galleries
Kirkcaldy is known for its art galleries. Pictured are artists Arthur ‘Spud” Mitchell and Phil Cooke at Kirkcaldy Art Galleries last year. Picture: Steve Brown/DCT Media.

Michal Szczesny, CEO at Artfinder, says: “It’s brilliant to see Motherwell, Kirkcaldy, Kilmarnock, and Paisley all crowned as art-buying capitals of the UK.

“2020 saw a real boom for the online art market, with overall online art sales worldwide doubling to a record high of $12.4 billion in 2020, accounting for an all-time high of 25% of the art market’s overall value, up from just 9% in 2019.”

Scots buyers make a good Impression

As well as the number of pieces bought and sold, the study also revealed what kinds of art Scottish buyers like best.

It found paintings fared best among Scots, with oil and acrylic paintings making up half (50%) of all pieces bought between the four towns.

Slice by Leigh Bagley, a Scottish artist featured on Artfinder.

Landscapes, sea and sky (30% of all purchases) were found to be the preferred artwork subject.

When it came to style, Scots were found to favour Impressionistic art (33% of all purchases).

And interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly for the country which spawned the word “dour”, grey was the most popular artwork colour across the UK, including Scotland, where it was used on 41% of all pieces purchased.

Related:

Antiques Road Trip stops off at Kirkcaldy Galleries and Dundee’s HMS Unicorn in new episode

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