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PROPERTY OF A LADY AND GENTLEMAN

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, R.S.A., R.S.W.
NORTH WIND, IONA (THE BATHER)
Estimate
60,00080,000
JUMP TO LOT
28

PROPERTY OF A LADY AND GENTLEMAN

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, R.S.A., R.S.W.
NORTH WIND, IONA (THE BATHER)
Estimate
60,00080,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Scottish Art

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London

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, R.S.A., R.S.W.
1883-1937
NORTH WIND, IONA (THE BATHER)
signed l.r.: F.C.B. Cadell; titled and signed on the reverse: NORTH WIND. IONA./(THE BATHER.)/by F.C.B. Cadell.
oil on panel
36.9 by 45.1cm., 14½ by 17¾in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, Edinburgh;
Christie's, London, 3 April 1969, lot 239;
Sir James Hunter Blair, where sold, Christie's, London, The Hunter Blair Family Collection, 25 May 2007, lot 172;
Portland Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owner

Exhibited

London, Portland Gallery, F.C.B. Cadell, September 2011, no.24

Literature

P. MacLeod Coupe, Paintings of Iona, Cadell and Peploe, 2014, p.193, illustrated pl.176

Catalogue Note

With the white sands, azure water and wild windswept dunes, the beaches of Iona were a paradise for painters, and during the inter-war years there was a thriving artists’ colony attracted to the beauty and remoteness of the island. Cadell made his first visit to Iona in 1912. Sailing with a friend around the Western Isles of Scotland he was drawn to the low-lying land that offered limitless inspiration for the artist. After this first visit, Cadell became quickly captivated by Iona’s scenery and the challenges it presented to an artist hoping to capture its atmosphere and natural beauty. He visited Iona almost every summer for the next twenty years and never ceased to be inspired by the coastal landscape. The local islanders grew fond of Cadell over the many years he painted there. They regarded him with genuine affection, and the younger ones with a respect reserved for someone of great character. His paintings of Iona, full of life and light, echo his own light-hearted and cheery character. In contrast to the urban focus of the work Cadell produced in Edinburgh, the overriding subject matter of his Iona paintings is the colours and magnificence of the island's coastline in summer and the resolute crofts, kirks and the ancient abbey firmly planted within its shores.

Cadell painted on small boards, which he usually completed in one session en plein air. The present painting appears to be one of his later works due to the more topographically specific view of the island and the broken brush of dryer paint, in contrast to his earlier more fluid hand. When Cadell returned to Iona after the First World War, he persuaded his friend Peploe, a fellow Scottish Colourist, to join him. The two would often sit side-by-side painting an identical view, and whilst they influenced each other, they also brought to the same subject their own different styles and personalities. From about 1920, Cadell and Peploe adopted the technique of using a white gesso ground for their paintings which absorbed the paint and allowed the artists to work quickly, but also left a dry chalky finish that enhanced the luminosity. This technique was particularly suitable for the depiction of Iona’s shimmering sunlight.

It was unusual for Cadell to include figures in his Iona paintings, but here he has placed a woman clad in a white dress which flutters in the sea-breeze and gives a beautifully animated element echoing the rolling waves in the bay beyond. Mauve, sea-greens and brilliant blues give a vibrancy to the picture and are wholly Colourist in their harmonies and contrasts. North Wind, Iona depicts the North shore, painted amongst the rocks that form the west boundary of the sands at Chalbha, where we catch a glimpse of the uninhabited island of Lunga, partly hidden by the rocky islet of Eilean Chalbha. Cadell attacked the challenge of trying to capture the sudden and dramatic changes in light and colour with great delight. He could paint the same scene on multiple occasions and each board would be unique due to the capricious weather. It was this ability to render the impression of a land or seascape at a fleeting moment that was key to his most successful Iona paintings, his skill in retaining the essence of changing colours and tones of sand and sea for long enough to commit them to a board. Here he has captured the different brooding tones of dark blue and sea green within the white capped churning sea, evoking a blustering atmosphere enhanced by off-grey clouds and the windswept dress of the figure in the foreground. The rocks on the north shore are Lewisian Gneiss, the oldest rock in Britain, and Cadell has truthfully depicted their richly coloured bands of pink, grey and green embellished with fine green-yellow veining, which again suggests that this is probably one of his mature works when everything that he had learnt was absorbed into these fresh and delightful beach scenes.

Scottish Art

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London