#FridayPainting: Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell “A Lady in Black”

I love hats! When I turned over my art calendar for December 6, 2021, I knew without looking ahead that Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell’s “A Lady in Black” would be my choice for the #FridayPainting.

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell RSA (Royal Scottish Academy)born on April 12, 1883 was a Scottish Colourist painter, known for his paintings of Edinburgh’s elegant New Town interiors. He also painted scenes of Iona, while on his visits to the island with his friend and fellow Colourist, Samuel Peploe.

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, R.S.A., R.S.W. “A Lady in Black

The first time I heard of the Scottish Colourists was through Alexander McCall Smith’s serial novels involving the residents that live at 44 Scotland Street. Pat Macgregor, who works in a small art gallery, believes that she has discovered a painting by Samuel Peploe. But I digress…

The Scottish Colourists were a group of four painters: Francis Cadell, John Duncan Fergusson, Leslie Hunter and Samuel Peploe.

Francis Cadell was left handed which caused concern that his paintings would not be “great.” Even the President of the Royal Scottish Academy suggested that he refrain from painting with his left hand. “No artist ever became great who did so,” he admonished.

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, R.S.A., R.S.W. “A Lady in Black

Francis Cadell’s response was quick and to the point: “Sir and did not the great Michelangelo paint with his left hand?” When asked by another student how he came to know that Michelangelo was left-handed, Cadell confessed “I didn’t know but nor did the president.”

The National Galleries Scotland has a brilliant video that provide an overview of the Colourists, which I have included for your viewing pleasure.

One of a series of paintings for which Cadell is justly famed, this elegant, fashionably dressed woman is portrayed in the lavish setting of a Edinburgh New Town drawing room. Carefully posed, her arm resting on the back of her chair, she is arrayed in a fur collar, kid gloves and with a glint of gold hoop earring against an impressive feathered hat – the height of sophistication. An added sense of light and depth is introduced by the reflection in the mirror, a favourite device often used by the artist. The pink roses and the porcelain vase add to the sense of richness in the composition and are freely painted in fast, loose brushstrokes.

For more information on Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell visit ArtUK.org

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

15 thoughts on “#FridayPainting: Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell “A Lady in Black”

  1. What a delightful painting, “A Lady in Black”, but so full of color and so elegantly dressed; with her arm and hand so relaxed across the arm of the chair.. What about that HAT! ! Thank you for including the video. I had to smile that the idea of his painting with his left hand was considered strange.. But, is certainly did not take away from his ability. Thank you for mentioning the four “Colourists”. Thank your for the additional facts of that time of history–and from Scotland! ! All from our Art Calendar! !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wasn’t that a great video?! National Galleries Scotland have an amazing collection of videos that provide background to the paintings. Their short videos encourage me to look closer at the paintings and find out more about the artists. I am delighted that you enjoyed this post. I LOVE the hat. And remember – January 15, 2022 is National Hat Day!!!


    1. Art is about outliers isn’t it. Those who dare to go in a new direction and see what is around the next corner, to embrace their instincts and celebrate what comes next, to understand possibilities are all around us. Sending hugs your way. I LOVE hats! Hat Day is coming in January.

      Liked by 1 person

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