Sir David Scott was a career diplomat, whose serious hobbies were collecting British pictures, and gardening. In the course of a long life (he died when he was 99) he became one of the most highly-regarded of all twentieth century private British collectors, concentrating on Victorian narrative pictures and 20th century art, both abstract and representational.
He retired from the Foreign Office in 1947, and spent his long retirement at the Dower House, one wing of Boughton House in Northamptonshire, which belonged to his cousin, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. Here he created a beautiful tree and shrub garden with the aid of his first wife, Dorothy. After her death and his marriage to the well-known alpine gardener and garden photographer, Valerie Finnis, he developed it into one of the most highly-regarded ‘plantsman’s gardens’ in the country. David Scott died in 1986, and left his collection of pictures to Valerie. On her death, in 2006, it was her wish that the collection be sold and the proceeds used for charitable purposes. The picture
collection was sold by Sotheby’s in London on 19th November, 2008.
In 2009, the Finnis Scott Foundation was set up, with a small group of Trustees, with the dual aims of helping to fund artistic, art historical, horticultural or botanical projects, thus being true to the abiding interests of David and Valerie. In the last five years, over one million pounds has been given away in grants to a great variety of projects (see Awards page), with the emphasis on helping to train young professionals in both major fields of interest. The first award went to the Watts Gallery in Surrey, where the most popular Victorian painter of his time is celebrated, and where there is a major programme of renovation and expansion.