Joan Eardley: ‘the grand lady of Scottsh art’

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While her name may not be first on the list of prominent Scottish painters, Joan Eardley carved out a niche for herself in 20th Century Scottish art.

Born in West Sussex, she became synonymous with Scotland after moving north with her mother and sister during World War II.

Joan Eardley's Two Boys

Joan Eardley's Two Boys

Her most recognised works are her portraits of Glasgow children and, latterly, seascapes and landscapes in the north east village of Catterline.

Time spent in France and Italy resulted in a Renaissance influence in her later work. Her love for Giotto, for instance, can be seen in one of her most famous works, Beggars in Venice.

But Eardley’s untimely death at the age of just 42 robbed her of the chance to be fully appreciated during her lifetime.

Dr Janet McKenzie of the National Galleries of Scotland suggested that her passing ‘meant that she was never given the stature she deserved.’

Guy Peploe - grandson of colourist painter Samuel Peploe - has described her work as having a ‘desperate urgency... almost as if she knew that she was not going to be the grand lady of Scottish art.’

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