Eardley exhibition


20 November 2021–8 May 2022
Hunterian Art Gallery
Admission free

This exhibition celebrates Joan Eardley, one of Scotland’s most remarkable artists working in the post-war period. Organised to coincide with the centenary of her birth, Celebrating Joan Eardley is part of the programme of events organised by the Scottish Women and the Arts Research Network (SWARN).

Taking place in two parts, this second instalment of the exhibition focuses on Eardley's paintings and showcases the results of technical analysis of some of Eardley’s paintings from The Hunterian collection, carried out by the Kelvin Centre for Conservation and Cultural Heritage Research.

Eardley spent the 1940s training as a painter at the Glasgow School of Art and elsewhere, winning travelling scholarships in 1948. After six months exploring Italy, she returned to Glasgow, eventually setting up her studio in Townhead to paint its children, its dilapidated tenements and its gritty streets.

By 1952, Eardley had begun to divide her time between Glasgow and the remote Aberdeenshire seaside village of Catterline. She would devote the rest of her career to the ever-changing elusive nature of her subjects in these two locations. Driven by a sense of urgency, and a passionate need to convey her response to these subjects, she developed an expressive visual language entirely her own.

Recognition from her peers and older artists came relatively early: she was the youngest woman to become an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1955 and a full academician in 1963, shortly before she died of cancer at 42.

Today, with 27 works on paper, 12 paintings and related archival material, the University of Glasgow is home to an important group of objects related to Joan Eardley, covering most of her career.


  • Celebrating Joan Eardley (1921–1963) is at the Hunterian Art Gallery from 20 November 2021–8 May 2022.
  • Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am–5pm. Closed Monday.
  • Back to Exhibition Programme.