About this artwork

Eardley repeatedly depicted the children who lived near her Townhead studio in Glasgow. Adult figures rarely appear in her work. Eardley loved the friendliness and community spirit of the area. She took photographs of street life and of children playing, but also worked from life drawings. The children would visit her studio as friends, to play with a box of toys she had, and she was then able to make sketches of them. Eardley's paintings were praised for their honest portrayal of working-class life in Glasgow.

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Joan Eardley

Joan Eardley

Born in Sussex, Eardley moved to Glasgow at the outbreak of war. She studied at Glasgow School of Art and at Hospitalfield House under James Cowie. Cowie helped to shape her preference for everyday subjects. In 1949 Eardley rented a studio in the centre of Glasgow, and a few years later moved to Townhead, where the local street children were her preferred subjects. She bought a cottage in the small fishing village of Catterline, south of Aberdeen, in 1954. There, her favourite subjects were the village and sea, particularly in stormy weather. Eardley died of cancer in August 1963. Her ashes were scattered on the beach at Catterline.