John Bellany 1942-2013

BellanyIt is with sadness that we announce the death of John Bellany, one of Scotland’s best-known artists, who died last night at the age of 71.

He is said to have died surrounded by his family, in his studio, with a paint brush in his hand.

Born into a family of fishermen and boat builders at Port Seton in 1942, much of his work drew inspiration from his coastal roots.

He studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1960s before moving to London to study at the Royal College of Art.

Bellany successfully underwent a liver transplant in the 1980s and was made a CBE in 1994.

He had suffered three heart attacks, including one outside his own exhibition in Glasgow, but even that informed his work.

His paintings feature in the collections of galleries including the National Galleries of Scotland, Tate Britain in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Sir John Leighton, director general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said ‘He was able to use the drama and crises of his own life as a starting point for powerful explorations of man’s struggle with fate…Bellany will be celebrated as one of the greatest Scottish artists of the modern era.’

Read more on his life and death at

Image: John Bellany, The Trough of Despond, exhibited in the SSA Annual Exhibition c. 1987.