FCB Cadell is one of the four artists known as the Scottish Colourists. He studied in Paris and lived in Munich before settling in his native Edinburgh around 1909.
He is perhaps the most elegant of the Colourists, renowned for his stylish portrayals of Edinburgh New Town interiors and his vibrantly coloured, daringly simplified still life’s.
Cadell grew up in Edinburgh and showed artistic ability from an early age. Aged sixteen, he moved to Paris and enrolled at the Académie Julian, immersing himself in the French art scene. From 1902-5 he lived between Edinburgh and Paris and tentatively embarked upon a professional career. In 1907 he enrolled at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, returning to Scotland the following year and staging his first solo exhibition in
In 1909 Cadell secured a studio in George Street, in the centre of Edinburgh and met S. J. Peploe who became a life-long friend. A trip to Venice in 1910 proved to be a turning point, inspiring a newly confident use of bright colour and a loosening of technique. In 1912 Cadell visited the Hebridean island of Iona for the first time and was to return there virtually every summer for the rest of his life.
During the immediate pre-war period, Cadell established himself as an artist of note and a figure of some standing within Edinburgh society. He developed a palette based on white, cream and black, enlivened with highlights of bold colour.
The island of Iona also provided some twenty years of inspiration for landscape paintings. Its heyday as an artists’ colony was between the wars and Cadell and Peploe were prominent members of its artistic community. Cadell in particular became a well-known and well-liked character.
Cadell exhibited regularly from 1921 until the last years of his life, not least in exhibitions organised by the Glasgow-based art dealer Alexander Reid and his son A. J. McNeill Reid. Public recognition of Cadell’s work also grew as it entered various British public collections. Cadell was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1935 and was made an Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1936.