In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

Jia Tolentino

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

At the National Gallery of ScotlandPeter Campbell
Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close
Vol. 29 No. 24 · 13 December 2007
At the National Gallery of Scotland

Joan Eardley

Peter Campbell

Joan Eardley was only 42 when she died in 1963. She was born in England but her life was in Scotland. Two Scottish subjects dominate the current exhibition of her work (at the National Gallery of Scotland until 13 January): paintings of children from the tenements near her Glasgow studio, and of the land and sea around Catterline, a village on the east coast, south of Aberdeen, which she first visited in 1951 and where she later owned a cottage (one of the row in the picture on this page).

The children in the paintings, some seen singly, others in groups where they tug, touch, nudge, clasp one another, push prams, carry toddlers, play cards or queue for the cinema, can also be seen in photographs taken by Eardley herself and by her friend Audrey Walker. The photographs give the look of one corner of postwar Britain in documentary black and white. Eardley’s paintings give it in colour; bright patches of clothing show up against dark, chalk-scrawled walls. The turn of a head, the angle of a leg, or the loop of a skipping rope add movement. English painters like John Bratby and Jack Smith were drawing on similar subjects with a not dissimilar, calculated clumsiness that trades crispness for directness, as though seeking to match the thing drawn in the accent of the drawing.

‘Catterline in Winter’, c.1963.

‘Catterline in Winter’, c.1963.

Her seascapes and landscapes suggest other comparisons: Ivon Hitchens painted landscapes in which flowing patterns of colour can still be read as trees and water; de Kooning in America made pictures in which the bones of an unseen landscape seem to direct the reading of a field of abstract marks. But such mapping of similarity and influence shows little more than that Eardley’s way of drawing and painting was, as you would expect, of its time. More interesting connections are suggested by the fact that she took strength from clearly delimited material. Her concentration on a chosen bit of coast brings her closer to Frank Auerbach, who has concentrated on Primrose Hill, than to painters who made brush marks more like her own. When you think about what kind of artist she was, putting her child-invaded studio and Lucian Freud’s naked-friend-and-acquaintance-laden chairs and couches side by side suggests a common attitude to work that has nothing to do with style and not much to do with subject. (Eardley did paint one male nude: it shows a friend, Angus Neil, lying on a couch, very skinny, painted in slabs of brown and buff. In 1955, it seems, a woman painting a male nude was worth prurient attention from the press. A newspaper printed her address and she was bothered by offers to pose. She didn’t do another nude.) She described her relation to her child models in an interview recorded towards the end of her life. Of one family, the Samsons, she said:

I have been painting them for seven years … there are a large number of them, 12, so I’ve always had a certain number of children from this family of any age I choose … some children I don’t like … some interest me much more as characters … these ones I encourage … they don’t need much … they don’t pose – they come up and say will you paint me?

Sometimes Catterline was equally demanding. She commuted between the village and Glasgow and, according to Fiona Pearson’s essay in the catalogue, ‘a phone call from a neighbour warning of approaching storms would send Eardley racing north again.’ While 19th-century tourists and topographers without cameras tended to search out dramatic prospects, the peaks of landscape painting have, more often, been scaled by those who stuck with what was within walking distance – as often as not the landscape they had grown up with. Thus Constable’s Suffolk, Cézanne’s Provence and Eardley’s Catterline. (Even Turner, a great exception, might at a pinch be reckoned to have a single subject: changing light and weather.)

In her land and seascapes Eardley knifes, drips and brushes paint with broad gestures which (to pick on another comparison of limited significance) resemble those of Tachiste contemporaries. Hans Hartung and Pierre Soulages were both painters whose work she could have seen exhibited in Scotland. More to the point are the abstracted landscapes of Nicolas de Staël and Soutine’s crumpled, wavy transformations of Céret (he was another painter with a single landscape territory). For all their smudgy, flowing deliciousness, her marks, even in the most abstract of her pictures, do describe things; their relation to one another is more than formal. The sea pictures are remarkable anatomies of shore waves. The Wave of 1961 shows a wall of white water thrown forward as the wave overtops itself. In The Sea of 1959 it is possible to guess at interleaving breakers. In Foam and Blue Sky of 1962 froth from a broken wave reaches high; the horizon, which cuts across the other pictures, is here obscured by a broken flurry that runs towards blue and brown at the foot of the picture. Rocks? Sand? Water? It’s hard to tell. It is a child’s view of the force he will run up the beach to escape.

‘Provincial’ is a condescending word (less so perhaps when one attaches ‘vigour’ to it, as I would here), but I can’t think of a better one to describe a particular kind of distance from the traffic of styles and reputations that Eardley exemplifies. It is not that she was unknown outside Scotland or ignorant of what was going on in the world. She made regular trips to London to see exhibitions, and her own at Roland, Browse and Delbanco in the last year of her life was a critical and financial success. But the self-confidence that carried her forward, undistracted by the strong international currents that broke the flow of other careers, seems to have been sustained by attachment to her native place.

Juxtapositions are another pleasure of work seen in a provincial context. For example, Eardley studied briefly with James Cowie, whose painting of two schoolgirls (more Jean Brodie than Balthus, but with a bit of both) is tightly composed and painted – the opposite in handling and drawing of Eardley’s child portraits. It is not surprising that she argued with him. But to think of the contrast between them as a commentary on aspects of Scottish life, as expressions of different kinds of Scottish character even, is just about allowable. International comparisons can’t offer the pleasure of that kind of speculation.

And then there are backward looks – for example, to William McTaggart’s Scottish seascapes from around the turn of the last century. Paint whipped up like egg white into waves and clouds, paintings which would be Impressionist if subject matter – folk by the shore; the immigrant ship on the horizon (for all that those elements, like the waves themselves, emerge only gradually from the skeins of paint) – did not tie them to his earlier conventional and sentimental pictures of children by the shore. Look at these pictures with Eardley’s in mind and you notice the dabs of white which McTaggart also used to mark departing sails. It is not a question of influence or borrowing, more the knowledge that a single landscape has come to you by way of two minds, and the feeling that what is congruent and what is not tells you things that each by itself would not.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.