Joan Eardley

Joan Eardley, 1921 - 1963. Artist

About this artwork

Joan Eardley's paintings of the street children who lived near her studio in Glasgow are her most familiar works. This is an early example by Eardley, painted during her final year at Glasgow School of Art. Although the painting looks unfinished, it is thought that the artist intended this to be the final effect, so that it looked like a relic or an ancient fresco. Eardley admired Italian Renaissance artists such as Masaccio and Piero della Francesca for the humanity and sculptural qualities in their work. She saw fresco cycles by both these artists when she spent her scholarship year in Italy in 1948 to 1949.

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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.