Wonderfully Characteristic Joan Eardley Works At Bonhams Scottish Sale

The Scottish Sale
25 Apr 2018

Two highly characteristic works by the painter Joan Eardley (1921-1963) feature in Bonhams Annual Scottish Sale in Edinburgh on Wednesday 25 April. Pat Samson in a Red Jersey is estimated at £30,000-50,000, and Winter Sea at £20,000-30,000.

Pat Samson in a Red Jersey dates from the early 1950s. When Eardley set up a studio in the Townhead area of Glasgow in 1949, the deprived and overcrowded area was already condemned and earmarked for demolition. She became fascinated by the children playing in the streets. Moved by their defiant vitality in the face of acute poverty, she began to paint and draw them. Pat Samson was one of a family of 12 who, with her brother Brian and sister Anne, became a regular model. The children would agree to be sketched in exchange for sweets or a few pennies, but were incapable of staying still for long. Eardley worked deftly in pastel to capture a likeness before her models got bored and ran away. This gives a striking immediacy to the portraits, as seen in the work for sale.

In the early 1950s, while still living and working in Glasgow, Eardley began spending part of the year in Catterline, a fishing village near Stonehaven. In 1955 she bought a house and studio there, and moved to Catterline permanently in 1961, living in the village until her untimely death in 1963. The surrounding countryside and, in particular, the changing moods of the sea and skies became a major inspiration. Winter Sea has all the hallmarks of a typical Eardley seascape, the grey sky lowering over pounding spume and black rock. The artist has used boat paint and incorporated sand to build up the surface of the canvass on which she has also dripped oil to create a remarkable expressive work of art.

Bonhams Head of Scottish Art in Edinburgh, Chris Brickley said: "These two gems encapsulate the qualities that made Eardley such a highly-regarded and loved artist. Her humanity shines through Pat Samson in a Red Jersey, and her passion for the untameable wildness of the sea, is perfectly caught in Winter Sea."


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  1. Chris Brickley
    22 Queen St
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom EH2 1JX
    Work +44 131 240 2297
    FaxFax: +44 131 220 2547
  2. Lucinda Bredin
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8363

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