F.C.B. Cadell had a long-standing love affair with the west-coast isle of Iona and spent many a long Scottish summer painting there alongside fellow Scottish Colourist S.J. Peploe. Together they traversed and transmuted vision into paint across every spot and angle of this artist’s haven. A unique west coast wildness prevails, with a sense of open space and gorgeous, sparkling light, truly an artist’s paradise.
Cadell captured the topography and landmarks, the light and the colours as accurately as possible, with surprisingly little artistic licence. He was so accurate that individual rocks can still be matched to photographs of present day Iona. His amazing accuracy allows us to identify this unusual scene of an approaching storm, taking place over Cathedral Rock, Iona at the north end of the island. In a departure from his usual depictions of the coastline of the island under glorious sunshine, the drama of the approaching weather matches the drama and ruggedness of the rocky coastline and the strength and intensity of crashing Atlantic waves. Still fresh and joyful, the storm brings an unexpected brooding quality to the painting.
In Crofts, Iona the gorgeous, west coast light returns and in its depiction, Cadell is unfettered and free in his painting. Light, bright and breezy, this is an altogether different approach that shows a light touch in the brushstrokes. Softly slanting and layering over each other, his technique is particularly noticeable in the differing colour and softly cross-hatched texture of the dry stone wall in the foreground.
Transporting the viewer to the stone covered interior of Iona Abbey through his realistic portrayal of light, shadow and texture, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell’s Iona Abbey is a strikingly life-like composition. Using a palette of purples, blues and greens, Cadell communicates the cool interior. Light pours through and illuminates the Abbey windows, casting shadows and drawing attention to the detailed structure of the building. Cadell celebrates the place with his variety of colour, texture and light. Surprisingly true to life, Cadell creates a visual feast in Iona Abbey, a celebration of both spiritual and artistic pilgrimage of this important Scottish location.
These differing scenes of Iona show Cadell for the true Scottish artist that he was, able to see, respond to and celebrate the true beauty of this small island, no matter which view he focused on, or what weather conditions he experienced.
AUCTION | Scottish Paintings | Thursday, 5th December at 6pm | Edinburgh
VIEWING | Tues - Wed 4 December 10am - 5pm | Thurs 5 December 9am - 2pm