A memorial has been unveiled in Catterline to mark the centenary year of celebrated Aberdeenshire artist Joan Eardley.
The plaque has been unveiled at the village beach 100 years on from her birth – and 58 years after her death.
Still Catterline’s most famous former resident, the artist was drawn to the picturesque Aberdeenshire village in the early 1950s.
During her career that lasted just under 15 years, the artist produced around a thousand paintings and thousands of crayon sketches.
And today her pictures – of bleak seascapes, fishermen and fields – fetch upwards of £10,000 at auction.
To pay respect to her tremendous career, Catterline residents Dave Ramsay, Brian Watt, and Ron Stephen along with chief curator at the National Galleries of Scotland, Patrick Elliott, unveiled a new permanent plaque.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Ramsay said: “After 58 years since Joan Eardley died, this is a significant day for the community of Catterline, now having a permanent memorial to celebrate her life and work, in this centenary year.”
Mr Elliot, who just published a book on the life of Ms Eardley and Catterline, also spoke at the unveiling.
He said: “Joan Eardley was one of the giants of British art, and she painted what I and many others consider to be her best works, right here, within a few feet of us.
“She first visited the village in May 1951. She had an exhibition on in Aberdeen at the time and took a car ride in the area with her friend Annette Soper.
“She fell in love with the village and returned the following year. She saw that the watch house, or the ‘watchie’ as it was known, was for sale, but didn’t have the £40 to buy it – but Annette did.
“Eardley came back and stayed there frequently – and liked it here so much she started renting number one South Row in 1954.
“This remember was before the cottages had electricity or running water, but that for Eardley was part of its appeal.
“She bought number 18 for £250 in December 1959, and it was only then that she started painting the sea.
‘Catterline was perfect for her’
“Catterline was perfect for her – it was small, the people were friendly, and it provided her with all the subject matter she could need just steps away from her front door.
“She spent just ten years here – she died in 1963, aged just 42 – but she put Catterline on the map.
“You should be proud that Catterline counts as one of the great artistic centres in the British Isles.
“And proud also that this fact is now recognised with the plaque that Dave Ramsay has established over there by the salmon bothy, where Joan Eardley painted some of her greatest works.”
The new plaque replaces the original memorial stone which lay on the shingle at Catterline Beach for over 75 years, just feet away from where Ms Eardley painted and where her ashes were scattered on the Makin’ Green.
It features a QR code which will allow visitors to access a wealth of knowledge about Ms Eardley and Catterline.
The new memorial was sponsored Catterline residents Dave and Dorothy Ramsay as a gift to the community, to celebrate “25 years of living in the spirit of Catterline”.
Included in the ceremony’s audience was Catterline Primary School, who were presented with a signed copy of Mr Elliot’s new book Land & Sea – A Life in Catterline.
A new book by David Johnston, R.S.W., about Joan Eardley, was also presented to the school.
In 2018, another plague awarded by Historic Environment Scotland was erected at the Creel Inn in the village in the artist’s memory.