James Holloway has been in the art world for many years, recently retiring from his position at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and taking up a post at Abbotsford House, Sir Walter Scott's Melrose home. Abbotsford has been beautifully preserved, with a grant to restore their gardens to their original glory coming their way. The house is open to the public most of the year and hosts many events throughout, including theatre productions and ceilidhs. We caught up with James over a cracking cup of tea before capturing his best 'blue steel' stare in the main library.

james holloway TP june 2016 (2)


1. Tell us about your background and what you've been up to since retiring as Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

I have recently become Chairman of the Trustees of Abbotsford House, Sir Walter Scott’s wonderful home in the Borders. But I also have time for my two motorbikes and French horn!

2. When did you first become a customer at Walker Slater and what attracted you to the store?

I think I first bought a really lovely green tweed suit when the shop was first established...I also spent my first Winter Fuel Allowance (and a little bit more ) on a wonderful charcoal Donegal tweed suit (seen above).

3. How do you describe your style?

I’m afraid generally scruffy but with moments of promise.

4. As you work in the art world, especially surrounded by portraits, does a particular artist or painting stand out because the clothes are used to tell part of the story?

The clothes always tell a story, and Van Dyck tells some of the best!

5. Have you managed to see or be part of any exhibitions which involve fashion?

I once accompanied an exhibition of tartan portraits to an exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. I was also involved in an exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery called The Naked Portrait (where fashion certainly didn't play a part!).

6. If you were choosing the playlist for a day of relaxing, what music would you put on ?

Opera, and most likely Handel.

7. Do you have a favourite garment you’d like to see made in tweed?

I'm pretty satisfied with the range you already have at Walker Slater.

8. What is your favourite Scottish word? Do you have one?

Wabbit.  A colleague’s mother once rang in to say that her daughter was 'guy wabbit'. I had no idea then what she meant and didn't like to ask!


For more information about Abbotsford and their events follow their facebook and twitter.