Joan Eardley, Covered Market, Glasgow, (c1945-1949)
NMC/0087 In the collection of GSA Archives & Collections © Estate of Joan Eardley. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2023

‘Early Eardley: selected works 1940-1950’
Reid Gallery and Window on Heritage
Reid Building, GSA, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6RQ
Mon-Sat 10am-4.30pm 
Exhibition runs 10 November – 16 December 2023

This exhibition offers the opportunity to see Eardley’s early works, for which she is lesser known in order to show the ways in which her formative time at The Glasgow School of Art and early experiences from 1940-50 informed the direction and development of her later work. 

The works for this exhibition are drawn from The Glasgow School of Art Archives & Collections, Lillie Art Gallery, City Art Centre, Gerber Fine Art and Joan Eardley Estate. The exhibition will feature life drawings made while Eardley was a student in the 1940s, as well as drawings made while undertaking a Royal Scottish Academy and Carnegie Travelling Scholarship in Italy and France (1948-49). Some of these drawings – of people, landscape and architecture – will be shown along with the scholarship report she was required to submit to the then Director, Douglas Percy Bliss, and other correspondence. The exhibition will also include a small group of sketches from Lincolnshire made during a period spent in the county to undertake a mural commission at a school in 1946. A further two drawings, from GSA’s Archives & Collections are of scenes from Glasgow’s famous Barras Market. 

‘Early Eardley: selected works 1940-1950’ will introduce audiences to the artist as a young woman, still learning, experimenting and developing as a painter. The drawings demonstrate Eardley’s emerging talent and the range and breadth of her interests. Materials Eardley used in her work included pen, ink, chalks, watercolour and blue biro.

Joan Eardley, Man Tending Drying Nets

This exhibition is curated by Jenny Brownrigg, Director of GSA Exhibitions, and Professor Susannah Thompson, Head of Doctoral Studies at the GSA. It is in partnership with The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections. 

Susannah Thompson is an art historian, writer and critic from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Her research has focussed on artist’s writing, experimental and creative approaches to art criticism, feminism, class and contemporary art. In recent years, she has undertaken projects on artists and writers including Muriel Spark, Joan Eardley, Cordelia Oliver and Maud Sulter. As a critic, she writes for Art Review, Artforum, The Burlington Magazine and others.

Jenny Brownrigg is Exhibitions Director at The Glasgow School of Art. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Scottish women artists. She was curator of ‘Glean: early 20th century women filmmakers and photographers in Scotland’ (City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 22/23) and of ‘Co-roinn Glean’, Museum Nan Eilean (Lionacleit), Isle of Benbecula (2023, in partnership with Vanishing Scotland Archive). Previous curated exhibitions include ‘Franki Raffles: Observing Women at Work’, in 2017 at Reid Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art.


Joan Eardley, Italian Farmhouse