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.

John Bellany

John Bellany CBE RA HRSA

John Bellany is one of the most influential Scottish painters since the Second World War. Throughout his career he has painted elemental allegories encompassing the complexities of the human condition. His work is anchored in the rich poetry of the sea and its myths, making Bellany the perfect artist to collaborate with George Bruce, also a poet of the sea. The two portfolios Woman of the North Sea and The Sacred Sea are the magnificent result of this rewarding collaboration.

As John Bellany’s work developed, his iconography became broader – tackling the universality of humanity – pain, sorrow, life and death. His painting is powerful, vibrant and often expressed in astonishing explosions of colour. But his work can also be lyrical, revealing an acute sensitivity to the turmoil of life. He has been awarded numerous honours for his towering contribution to Scottish art.

He works in London, Edinburgh and Barga, Italy.