Joan Eardley’s Seated Boy at The Hunterian

joan eardley

joan eardley

Joan Eardley, Seated Boy, 1955. © Estate of Joan Eardley. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015. Image © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2015. Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government and allocated to The Hunterian, 2015. Donated in memory of Dr Mary Catto.

The Hunterian is first Scottish gallery to benefit from Cultural Gifts Scheme

The painting will go on display at the Hunterian Art Gallery from Tuesday 23 June, 2015

Joan Eardley’s Seated Boy has been allocated to The Hunterian under the Cultural Gifts Scheme. The Hunterian is the first Scottish museum and art gallery to be given a work under the scheme introduced by the UK Government in 2013.

The Hunterian was chosen to receive the work by the donor because of its strong collection of Scottish Art which includes works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish Colourists, Glasgow Boys and Eardley herself.

The Hunterian is home to 42 works by Eardley, 12 of which are paintings and drawings of children. Seated Boy, painted in 1955, adds significantly to The Hunterian’s existing representation of her work and is an extremely important addition to The Hunterian’s collection of Scottish Art.

Some 40 years after her death, Joan Eardley remains one of Scotland’s most universally admired and recognised post-war painters. Her paintings of Glasgow tenement children capture a vanishing world and her drawings and oils of the North-East coast of Scotland are among the most celebrated works in 20th century Scottish art.  

Eardley moved to Glasgow in 1940 to study at Glasgow School of Art and from 1949, rented a studio in Townhead, an area of great deprivation which was to undergo significant redevelopment in the post-war period.  Eardley painted both its tenements and local people, particularly the Samson family who provided her with rich subject matter in the 1950s and 1960s.
Seated Boy is a full length oil painting, tentatively identified as Andrew Samson, one of the Samson children. Freely painted, it captures the young boy’s features, conveying his awkwardness with a strong sense of robust realism. (Continues…)

It belongs to a relatively small group of oil paintings focusing on full length representations of the Samson boys. Not quite portraits and not quite genre scenes, they are extraordinary character studies of ordinary children. The majority are in private collections.

Seated Boy will go on display at the Hunterian Art Gallery from Tuesday 23 June after conservation and reframing.

The Cultural Gifts Scheme was launched in March 2013 in a bid to encourage philanthropy for the arts, as it enables UK taxpayers to donate important objects to the nation during their lifetime.

Hunterian Director, Professor David Gaimster said:

“The Hunterian is delighted to be the first Scottish gallery to benefit from the Cultural Gifts Scheme. Seated Boy is a major addition to our significant group of works by Joan Eardley and we are extremely grateful for this generous gift.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“I welcome the first item to be received in Scotland through the Cultural Gifts Scheme. The Scheme allows Scottish Ministers to accept important works of art on behalf of our nation which can then enrich the range of internationally renowned artworks and artifacts available for everyone visiting Scotland’s collections to enjoy.

“Eardley was a prominent Glasgow artist and it is fitting that Seated Boy has been gifted to The Hunterian as an addition to their Eardley collection.”

The Hunterian
University of Glasgow
Gilbert Scott Building
Glasgow G12 8QQ

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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