Joan Eardley was one of the most significant twentieth century Scottish artists. She is best known for her works in social realism. She portrayed the children and tenements around her Townhead studio and is widely celebrated for having revived a maritime trend in Scottish art with her paintings of the sea and landscapes of Catterline.
Eardley was born in Sussex, England and attended Goldsmiths College in 1938. In 1939 she moved with her mother and sister to Glasgow, where she studied at the Glasgow School of Art under Hugh Adam Crawford. She was influenced by the Scottish Colourists.
She was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1955 and became an Academician in 1963. She was the subject of a major retrospective at the National Galleries Scotland in 2007-8. Her art is in several renowned collections including the National Galleries Scotland, Tate and the Fleming Collection.