George Bruce

George Bruce (1909-2002), was one of the most important poets in the Scottish Literary Renaissance of the twentieth century. Born in Fraserburgh, where his family ran a herring curing firm, he attended Fraserburgh Academy and Aberdeen University graduating with First Class Honours in English in 1932.

A BBC Scotland Producer, he pioneered arts broadcasting on radio and television. With Sea Talk (1944) and his later collections, he achieved a very individual style of expression, dealing with a wide range of issues, from the personal to the international, but often rooted in his upbringing in the fishing communities of Buchan. In 1999, at the age of ninety, he won the Saltire Society ‘Book of the Year’ award for his collection of poems, Pursuit. Two years later in 2001 he published Today Tomorrow containing his work from 1933 to 2000.

With his deep interest in the visual artists, he was the ideal collaborator for Elizabeth Blackadder and John Bellany. His haiku, written towards the end of his life, are matched perfectly by Blackadder in Through the Letterbox and his affinity with Bellany through their common fishing ancestry resulted in the outstanding folios Woman of the North Sea and The Sacred Sea. His final collected poems, published posthumously, The Singing of the Foxes (2007) also includes images by Bellany.

Elizabeth Blackadder

Dame Elizabeth Blackadder is one of Scotland’s finest painters. She was the first woman artist to be elected a member of both the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy. She is one of Britain’s most popular artists.

She studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University – and belongs to a long tradition of Scottish artists whose glorious use of colour is widely recognised. The brilliance of her colour, the delicacy of her painting and the refinement of her design, convey the intensity of observation which she transfers with exquisite sensitivity to paper. Her interest in Japan (reflected in her work) and the fluency of her brushstrokes, make her the perfect artist to illustrate books of haiku.

Elizabeth Blackadder is one of the most honoured artists of her generation. As well as a number of honorary degrees – in 2001 she was made The Queen’s Limner and Painter in Scotland.