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Since the mid-1700s, artists have looked towards the sea as a constant source of inspiration for their work. Some artists were drawn to wild, solitary, remote from what the poet, Edward Thomas called ‘the parochialism of humanity’, and wide open places, and others to flotsam and jetsam found on the beach.


Many of the artists in this exhibition identified themselves with a particular stretch of the shoreline, a particular viewpoint from the edge of the sea, and in painting it, they tended to shape anew the way we see it.

16 artworks
  • Winter Sea IV 1958
    Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)
    Oil on board
    H 53.4 x W 78.8 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Winter Sea IV
    © the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • High Tide, a Winter Afternoon 1961
    Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)
    Oil on hardboard
    H 117 x W 235.7 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    High Tide, a Winter Afternoon
    © the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Iona, Grey Day 1927
    Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
    Oil on canvas
    H 50.8 x W 61.3 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Iona, Grey Day
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Blue Sea, Iona 1927
    Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
    Oil on canvas
    H 51 x W 61.3 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Blue Sea, Iona
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Stormy Weather, Iona c.1929
    Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
    Oil on canvas
    H 51.2 x W 61 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Stormy Weather, Iona
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The White Calm, Ailsa Craig from Port an Righ 1901
    William McTaggart (1835–1910)
    Oil on canvas
    H 119.9 x W 156.2 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The White Calm, Ailsa Craig from Port an Righ
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Bird's Eye View of a Beach c.1976
    Sylvia Wishart (1936–2008)
    Oil on board
    H 101.4 x W 126.8 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Bird's Eye View of a Beach
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Leviathan – Elegy 1982
    Will Maclean (b.1941)
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Slipway at Peniche, Portugal 1948
    Tristram Paul Hillier (1905–1983)
    Oil on canvas
    H 64.3 x W 95.3 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Slipway at Peniche, Portugal
    © the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Visibility Moderate 1934
    Edward Alexander Wadsworth (1889–1949)
    Tempera on panel
    H 63.8 x W 89 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Visibility Moderate
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Quay, Dieppe, France 1929
    Christopher Wood (1901–1930)
    Oil on board
    H 41.5 x W 56.2 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Quay, Dieppe, France
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Three Boats off the Shore
    Alfred Wallis (1855–1942)
    Oil on cardboard
    H 35.1 x W 47 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Three Boats off the Shore
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Mare Solemnis 1989
    Martin Rayner (1947–2004)
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Beach, Largo, Fife, at Low Tide
    George Leslie Hunter (1877–1931)
    Oil on board
    H 22 x W 30.1 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Beach, Largo, Fife, at Low Tide
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • On the Beach, Étaples, France c.1905–1906
    John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961)
    Oil on board
    H 18.7 x W 24.1 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    On the Beach, Étaples, France
    © The Fergusson Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council, Scotland. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Scheveningen Sands 1884
    Alfred Emile Léopold Joseph Victor Stevens (1823–1906)
    Oil on canvas
    H 27.2 x W 35.2 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Scheveningen Sands
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums