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FRANCIS CAMPBELL BOILEAU CADELL, R.S.A., R.S.W. (1883-1937)
Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell was born on 12th April 1883, the eldest son of Doctor Francis Cadell and Mary Hamilton Boileau. From early childhood Cadell's talent for drawing was recognised and encouraged, and it was Arthur Melville, a leading member of the Glasgow School, who recommended to Cadell's parents that he be sent to live and work in the Paris studios.
In Paris, Cadell would have seen the work of the Post Impressionists, but this does not seem to have strongly influenced his approach to painting. After Paris he travelled to Munich and Venice, a trip made possible by his lifelong friend and patron Sir Patrick Ford, Bt. Another important patron of Cadell was George Service. When he returned to Edinburgh in 1909, he took a studio at 138 George Street. Four years later, war was declared and Cadell volunteered; after serving in the ranks he became an officer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
After the war Cadell moved to a new studio at 6 Ainslie Place which coincided with his brilliant Edinburgh interiors, frequently varied in effect with harmonious colour, animation and lightness in touch. During this period and until his death, Iona became his second home. Each year he would visit the island, spending all his time painting the beauty of the white beaches and green seas, capturing this with a masterful use of colour and spontaneity.
Although Cadell exhibited with regularity at the Royal Scottish Academy, it was not until 1931 that he was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy. He was made an Member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1935 and a full Royal Scottish Academician in 1936. It must be said, however, that his loyalties and interests lay with the Society of Eight and its exhibitions over any other institute. Created in 1912, the Society of Eight was united to a painterly approach and to the use of lightly keyed colour and included such members as Sir John Lavery, William Yorke MacGregor, James Paterson and Samuel John Peploe. Apart from the above exhibition he also held one-man shows at Aitken Dott or at Doig Wilson & Wheatley in Edinburgh and at Reid's in Glasgow. After Reid's transferred their business to London, Cadell continued with Pearson & Westergaard who acted as his Glasgow agent.
Cadell, who was known as Bunty to his friends, was a flamboyant, humorous and lighthearted companion. In dress, speech, company, work and play he was never dull and the same is true of his approach to art. He died aged 54 in December 1937.