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Joan Eardley was born in Sussex, England, later moving to live in Blackheath, London. It was here she first studied at a local art school and then continued to enrol at Goldsmith's College. By 1940, she had moved to Bearsden, Glasgow studying at Glasgow Art School and at Hospitalfield House under James Cowie.
In 1943 her talent became recognised when she was awarded a diploma in drawing and painting and received the James Guthrie prize for portraiture. Later in 1963, she became a member of the Royal Scottish Academy.
Around 1947-48, she spent a post-diploma year travelling in France and Italy, revisiting locations made famous by the avant-garde artists at the beginning of the twentieth century. She completed landscapes of provincial towns such as Saint Remy, while simultaneously depicting individual rural figures of the French countryside.
In later life, her subject matter remained primarily Scottish, becoming specifically renowned for her expressive oils of children found in the industrial streets of post-war Glasgow. She also completed many landscapes of coastal scenes near the fishing village of Catterline. Eardley's later works, painted in or around Catterline, are some of her most imposing, painted on a large scale. However she occasionally worked on smaller boards, yet the power of these is not diminished by their more modest scale. They are tonal and instinctive, conveying the artist's attachment to and knowledge of her surroundings in a similar way to the dialogue McTaggart conducts with the coast of his native Machrihanish.
She died an early death of cancer in 1963.
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
Huntarian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
Tate Gallery, London
"Joan Eardley", Portland Gallery, London, http://www.portlandgallery.com/artist/Joan_Eardley/bio (Accessed 5/18/2013)
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