Visual Arts in Ayrshire

The Maclaurin Art Collection  ~  Early Period Purchase

John Bellany CBE RA HRSA 1942 - 2013

1. The Fishers

2. Old Man



John Bellany CBE RA HRSA 1942 - 2013

1.   The Fishers. 1972
John Bellany CBE RA HRSA 1942 - 2013. Unsigned. 1880 x 1728mm).  Oil on Canvas.   Purchased from Monika Kinley, 1983 with a purchase grant from Local Museums Purchase Fund.  ©John Bellany.  Photograph:  1983 ©Mike Bailey

Exhibited in Paintings 1971 - 82, touring to Ikon Gallery, Birmingham 1983; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield; Third Eye Centre, Glasgow; Rochdale Art Gallery; Hatton Gallery, Newcastle; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Maclaurinn Art Gallery, Ayr.  

Exhibited in John Bellany Retrospective (Catalogue Number 22; ISBN 0 903148 68 4) at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh 1986.  

Exhibited in Take Your Pick (South West Galleries Association) touring to Milngavie, Paisley, Kilmarnock, Ayr and Dumfries.)  Conserved by Donald Forbes SNGMA conservator c.1990.

2.  Untitled, 1987 from 'The Old Man and the Sea' Portfolio 760 x 565mm

3.  John Bellany at his Edinburgh Exhibition,  Photograph ©The Herald.

For many Scottish artists of the 1970's and early 1980's Bellany was a seminal figure.  In Scotland, his work was promoted by former compatriot Sandy Moffat.  By this time, Bellany hjad settled in the South of England and was teaching at Winchester.  He made his mark on the international scene in the mid 1980's, attracting a lot of interest in Japan, following an exhibition in the United States of America. 

For a number of years, the Collection had two works on loan from a private collector.  A number of prints by Bellany were added to the Collection, including his prtfolios 'The Old Man and the Sea 1997', 'The Scottish Bestiary 1986' puiblished by The Paragon Press with Peacock Printmakers.

Work identified by Mike Bailey

[Text based, in part, on Bellany's obituary in the , the Gallery records and personal recollections.]

John Bellany Note from the SNGMA Catalogue The basic composition of this painting is derived from the centre panel of the triptych Homage to John Knox 1969 (cat. 18). The thematic emphasis is, however, very different. In this painting the two fishermen are mute and cowed. They use the fish to voice their complaints and to seek comfort. The one fisherman holds up a skate whose anthropomorphic features mouth anger and defiance; the other fisherman holds his fish next to his cheek, seeking solace. The fish have become so much part of their lives that they are the instruments for expressing emotion. This idea is at the root of the later 'ventriloquist' paintings (cat. nos. 44 and 46).


This page is based on recollections by Mike Bailey, and other published sources.   Mrs Mary E Maclaurin's Trust is a Registered Scottish Charity

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Maclaurin Art Collection ~ Updated March 5, 2016