Sweet Promise
© the Artist / Bridgeman Art Library. All rights reserved.

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Sweet Promise Dated 1986
  • Scottish Art
This etching belongs to a series of portraits Bellany made that return to the imagery of Port Seton and the sea. Many of them are linked to his second wife, Juliet, and her death in 1985. Here a woman, possibly Juliet, is depicted wearing a cat-mask. Masks, and the use of use of symbolic attributes, are common features in Bellany’s work and are a characteristic he learned from Max Beckmann. The figure appears to be holding up a skate, exposing its underside, as if a sacrifice. Like many of Bellany’s compositions, along the bottom of the paper is text, in this case it appears to be a ship’s name ‘Sweet Promise’, perhaps a reference to the premature death of Juliet.

Glossary Open


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.



  • Acc. No. GMA 3000
  • Medium Etching on paper (1/25)
  • Size 49.50 x 32.80 cm (paper 63.00 x 45.40 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1986