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The Loss

© the artist. Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum

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For 33 years, Joyce Cairns lived in the former fishing village of Footdee at the mouth of Aberdeen Harbour. Her work is mainly based on past memories intertwined with present experiences. The dark shadows of the Second World War had a long-lasting effect on Cairns whilst growing up.

‘Aberdeen Pilot Boat No. 2’ which was often berthed close to the artist’s home is here presented as a vehicle for lost souls, or it could also be the ship of fools with a clown mocking the hedonistic lifestyle of the lady of the night. In many of her works, the dominant female figure plays the leading role as a luring siren of hope, fear, death, loneliness or loss.

Scottish Maritime Museum





oil on board


H 183 x W 122 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, 2016

Work type



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Scottish Maritime Museum

Laird Forge Buildings, Gottries Road, Irvine, North Ayrshire KA12 8QE Scotland

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