The Port Seton born artist John Bellany died last night at the age of 71.
Bellany, who had been in ill-health, died in his studio “clutching a paintbrush in his hand as he took his final breath.”
A recipient of the Freedom of East Lothian, he was famous for his paintings which depicted Scottish fishing and ports.
Bellany was born in Port Seton, the son of a fisherman, and attended Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.
He was awarded the CBE in 1994.
East Lothian’s Provost, Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, said: “The name Bellany is recognised worldwide as an artist of considerable influence and reputation. I remember clearly back in 2004 East Lothian Council unanimously agreeing to award the first ever Freedom of East Lothian to John in recognition of his work and rich contribution to the county of his birth. The award was presented during a day of events to mark the occasion which included a major exhibition of his work, a schools’ masterclass and a visit to the day centre which bears his name. It was clear the affection people of all ages felt towards John and the appreciation of his love of East Lothian and its people so clearly depicted in his work.”
Council Leader, Willie Innes, added: “I had the great pleasure of meeting John Bellany and was struck by his down to earth response to the considerable fame and acclaim his work generated. He never forgot his roots and returned to Port Seton and his former school of Preston Lodge High School, Prestonpans as regularly as his busy schedule would permit. He took a keen interest in fostering talent in young people and established an art exchange which included senior pupils going to his studio in Barga, Italy for some invaluable support and tuition. His vibrant depictions of East Lothian life provide a tremendous legacy for future generations and we are fortunate, through his generosity, to have so many fine examples on display in public buildings across the county.”
Let us have your tributes to John Bellany