F. C. B. Cadell and Iona

F. C. B. Cadell and Iona

Inspired by Hebridean Light

The youngest of the four artists known as the ‘Scottish Colourists’, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883-1937) found such inspiration in the light, natural beauty and expansive views of Iona that he continued to visit the island for over three decades. We were delighted to present a selection of works by Cadell of Iona in our June 2022 Scottish Paintings & Sculpture auction.

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883-1937) was the youngest of the four artists known as the ‘Scottish Colourists’, along with J. D. Fergusson, G. L. Hunter and S. J. Peploe. He was born in Edinburgh and trained at the Académie Julian in Paris and at the Academie der Bildenden Künste in Munich.

Cadell visited the Hebridean island of Iona for the first time in 1912. Such was the inspiration which he found in its light, natural beauty and expansive views, that he returned there regularly until at least 1933. His trips could last from three to five months over the spring and summer, when weather conditions were at their best. Initially he stayed at the St Columba Hotel, but later he rented various cottages, most frequently Cnoc cùil Phàil, which had views over the Sound of Iona to neighbouring Mull.

 

LOT 138 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | IONA, EAST BAY – THE LITTLE ISLAND AND MULL | oil on panel | 38 x 45cm | £40,000 - £60,000 + fees
LOT 138 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | IONA, EAST BAY – THE LITTLE ISLAND AND MULL
oil on panel | 38 x 45cm | Sold for £106,250*

 

View Lot 138 ⇒

 

The congeniality of working conditions on the island is revealed by the many joyous paintings, watercolours and sketches Cadell created there. He preferred to work outdoors, responding directly to his surroundings. He was happy to be watched during the creative process and became a well-known figure in the community, nicknamed ‘Himself’.

 

FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | WHITE SANDS, NORTH END, IONA Signed, watercolour | 16.5cm x 24cm (6.5in x 9in) | £5,000 - £8,000 + fees

LOT 140 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | WHITE SANDS, NORTH END, IONA
Signed, watercolour | 16.5cm x 24cm (6.5in x 9in) | Sold for £13,125*

 

View Lot 140 ⇒

 

One of Iona’s distinctive features is its beaches of white sand, which sparkles underneath the soft Hebridean light and through which varied rock formations emerge. This can be seen to particularly beautiful effect in the North End, to which Cadell was repeatedly drawn. In addition, he depicted other beaches and sandy coves, including at Port Bhan, views across and beyond the island, such as to Ben More on Mull and architectural features like the Abbey and Village. He took pleasure in the rhythms of daily life, portraying the islanders at work on crofts, visitors relaxing in idyllic circumstances and boats under sail and at the jetty.

 

LOT 137 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | IONA LOOKING TOWARDS MULL Signed, watercolour | 12.5cm x 17.5cm (5in x 7in) | £5,000 - £7,000 + fees
LOT 137 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | IONA LOOKING TOWARDS MULL
Signed, watercolour | 12.5cm x 17.5cm (5in x 7in) | Sold for £10,000*

 

View Lot 137 ⇒

 

Often working on easily transportable boards measuring 15 by 18 inches, Cadell came to adopt a technique used by his friend John Duncan, of using an absorbent white ground. As a result, many of his Iona paintings carry the carefully inscribed legend on their reverse of ‘Absorbent Ground Never Varnish.’ Peploe was to follow suit when Cadell introduced him to the island in 1920, resulting in his own repeated summer visits for the rest of his life.

 

ON THE SHORE, IONA (THE SOUND OF IONA), c.1922
LOT 141 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | ON THE SHORE, IONA (THE SOUND OF IONA), c.1922
Signed lower right, watercolour and pencil | 17cm x 24cm (6.75in x 9.5in) | Sold for £17,500*

 

View Lot 141 ⇒

 

As well as painting en plein air on Iona, Cadell also made sketches and watercolours whilst there. These enabled him to capture moments of island life and fleeting sights which combine acute observation with an immediacy of technique, realised on an intimate scale.

 

CADELL | A PASSING YACHT
LOT 136 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | A PASSING YACHT
Signed, pencil and watercolour | 18cm x 25.5cm (7in x 10in) | Sold for £12,500*

 

View Lot 136 ⇒

 

As Jessica Christian and Charles Stiller have pointed out: ‘He worked very quickly to capture the essence of a scene and could finish a watercolour in as little as twenty minutes, some of these rapid, vibrant sketches being especially effective.’ (Jessica Christian and Charles Stiller, Iona Portrayed: The Island through Artist’s Eyes 1760-1960, The New Iona Press, Inverness, 2001, p. 59).

 

CADELL | MULL FROM IONA
LOT 142 | FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL R.S.A., R.S.W. (SCOTTISH 1883-1937) | MULL FROM IONA
Watercolour | 17cm x 27cm (6.75in x 10.5in) | Sold for £10,625*

 

View Lot 142 ⇒

 

Executed with swift, confident brushstrokes, his technique made the most of the texture and colour of the paper support, sometimes deliberately leaving areas bare as contributions to the overall palette and image. Cadell’s prowess in this medium was recognised by his election to the Royal Society of Scottish Paintings in Watercolour in 1935.

Iona played a key role in Cadell’s career. It provided more than twenty years’ worth of enjoyment, professional inspiration and vital income from the sale of the work he made there.

  


 

Auction Information

 

Scottish Paintings & Sculpture

16th June 2022

Edinburgh | Live Online

  

 View the auction results ⇒

 

 


 

Scottish Paintings & Sculpture

 

Lyon & Turnbull’s Scottish Paintings & Sculpture specialists present two auctions per year from our historic headquarters in Edinburgh to an international audience live online. Successfully selling over 90% of Scottish Colourist works handled in the last nine years, a record unmatched by our competitors – selling Scottish art in Scotland has always been a Lyon & Turnbull lynchpin. Our specialists are experts not only on the works of Scottish artists, but also on the workings of the art market, and it is this combination that fuels our on-going success in the field.

 

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SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

 

 

ALICE STRANG

 

ALICE STRANG | SENIOR SPECIALIST

0131 557 8844

alice.strang@lyonandturnbull.com

 

  

Nick Curnow

 

NICK CURNOW | HEAD OF SALE

0131 557 8844

nick.curnow@lyonandturnbull.com

 

 

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