In 1950 Joan Eardley first visited Catterline, a small fishing village a few miles south of Aberdeen. She wrote to her mother 'It really is a lovely country. I have quite fallen for it - quite different from the west, more rolling, with lovely reddish earth' (C. Oliver, Joan Eardley, Edinburgh, 1988, p. 60). During the 1950s Eardley stayed in Catterline for increasingly long periods of time. She stayed in the Watch House, a remote house which belonged to her friend Annette Stephen, and which also became her studio. Her paintings of this period reflect the landscape and the often brutal climate, and her textured brushstrokes express the red soil and long grasses which characterise the landscape found at Catterline.
The present owner, while at the Glasgow School of Art, attended a summer school at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath in 1960, where he was taught by Joan Eardley.