Object type



Interior - The Orange Blind


Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell artist


Scottish Colourists

Place Associated

Britain, Scotland, Edinburgh (place made)


circa 1927


oil on canvas


framed: 1337 x 1090 x 93 mm;unframed: 1118 mm x 864 mm


A lady dressed in black and wearing a black hat sits on a green chaise longue waiting for tea. The table is set for four and so it appears that other guests are expected. She almost seems to pat the sofa as if to say, come and sit here. The interior is elegant, with a chandelier and black lacquered Chinese screen. In the background a man plays a baby grand piano. The window is covered by a vibrant orange blind.

Scottish Colourist painter F. C. B. Cadell is known for his elegant paintings of fashionable Edinburgh ladies in drawing room settings. Many, like this one, show the spacious Georgian flat at 6 Ainslie Place in the New Town of Edinburgh where he lived. He often painted views through interior spaces to rooms beyond, sometimes glimpsed through a mirror, enjoying the geometric structure of frames and architectural features. Here the sitter is Miss Bethia Hamilton Don-Wauchope (1864-1944), eldest daughter of Sir John Don-Wauchope of Niddrie, who sat for a number of Cadell’s paintings.

However, the title of the painting, The Orange Blind, draws attention away from any story to the strong colour that dominates the composition. There is always a decorative component to Cadell’s art, with a bold use of colour. He was wounded at the Front during World War I when he served as a private with the Royal Scots and then with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He returned to Edinburgh in 1919 and, perhaps in reaction to the grim horrors of trench life, his paintings of the 1920s became even more vibrant, with bright greens, blues and oranges contrasting with bold areas of black. His use of strong colour is often linked with Matisse and the Fauves, but also corresponds with the bold, decorative style of Art Deco. There is a jazz-age air to his works. His new approach to painting caused a stir when he exhibited at the Society of Eight in 1920. It began a debate in the press that lasted for weeks and became known as ‘Bolshevism in Colour’.

This painting was exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts in 1928 and was immediately bought by the Trustees of the Hamilton Bequest for Glasgow Museums. It is Cadell at his best, elegant, stylish and bold.

Hamilton Bequest Trustee Donald White, who once played rugby for Scotland writes: ‘This painting provokes wide and wild imaginings in me. The viewer is being invited to an early evening soiree. The hostess is a very elegant lady who is waiting to serve tea to her guests in a beautiful drawing room in a Georgian house in the New Town of Edinburgh. The window blind is drawn to give shade from the setting sun. The lady is Miss Bethia Don-Wauchope, a surname recognised by followers of Scottish rugby, like me. Two of her brothers, Andrew and Patrick, were the first brothers to form a half back partnership in international rugby in 1884. Was one of them an expected guest? I would like to have been there.’

Credit Line/Donor

Presented by the Trustees of the Hamilton Bequest, 1928

ID Number



Kelvingrove Scottish Colourist Gallery

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