She is one of the 20th century’s most renowned Scottish-based artists and one of her pieces recently sold for a record sum at auction.

The Yellow Jumper sold for more than £200,000 last year and now another Joan Eardley painting will go under the hammer as part of McTear’s Scottish Pictures sale.

The painting, Catterline Seascapes, is of an area which Eardley was closely linked to, is up for sale at an estimated price of £30,000. But the auctioneers are keen to point out that the painting has been somewhat altered – or, as some in the art world have described it, as having been “tampered with.”

Read more: Glasgow artist Joan Eardley painting sells for record price at auction

However, that hasn’t stopped the painting attracting an estimated price of between £20,000 and £30,000 when it goes under the hammer next Wednesday.

According to a preview for the McTear sale, although previously sold by Glasgow-based Cyril Gerber Gallery and others as Catterline Seascape, the Eardley Estate has confirmed the correct title is Sea, Cliffs and Lighthouse and was most likely painted between 1960 and 1963, the year of Eardley’s death.

HeraldScotland: The Yellow Jumper by Joan Eardley sold for more than £200,000The Yellow Jumper by Joan Eardley sold for more than £200,000 (Image: Lyon & Turnbull/Julie Howden)

 It was sold by Bonhams, in Edinburgh, in 2014, from the estate of the late professors Sir Kenneth and Lady Noreen Murray with the gallery title of Catterline Seascape. However, there were two small dark clouds in the central area that they found to be distracting so a professional conservator was employed to paint over these patches with a lighter shade.

McTear’s advises on its website: “Should any purchaser wish to revert the picture to its original state, the assumption is, that removing the small area of over-painting would be a relatively straightforward procedure for a professional conservator.”

While the auctioneers have offered information on how the painting came to be altered the tampering has left some art experts surprised that someone would alter an Eardley.

HeraldScotland: Joan Eardley at her beloved CatterlineJoan Eardley at her beloved Catterline (Image: Newsquest)

One source said: “Altering an original painting is bizarre, unless it was to repair some damage or to restore it to its original state.

“Eardley was a very expressive and spontaneous painter. Dark clouds often occurred in her vigorous seascapes.”

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Art restorer Julie Hopkinson, who carried out the work, remembered the piece. She said: “Indeed, the painting was brought into my workshop by the owners several years ago. “The owner was not happy with some marks on the area and did not like the clouds in question as they thought it drew unnecessary attention to that area.

“The marks could not be removed without damaging the oils and the owners did not like the clouds so at their request I did some over-painting to blend in with the sky which they were highly satisfied with.”

Independent private restorer Brian McLaughlin said whoever buys the painting could now restore it. Mr McLaughlin said: “Some would argue that a painting should be left as an artist intended it to be and in this case it would be with the clouds in.

“However, any conservator would ensure that the alterations were easily reversible, and it could be [reversed] in this case.”

Estimated at between £100,000 and £150,000, The Yellow Jumper went under the hammer live online with fine art auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh last December as part of its Scottish Paintings and Sculpture sale. The Lyon & Turnbull team said the sale showed the continuing growth in recognition of Eardley’s work.

The previous Eardley record was set in 2008, when Beggars in Venice sold for £169,250. The Yellow Jumper is described as an outstanding example of the artist’s depictions of the children of the old Townhead area in Glasgow city centre. One of the final works Eardley made before her untimely death, aged just 42, it features two children positioned in front of a bright-red graffiti-covered wall. This was inspired by the exterior of the scrap-metal business beneath Eardley’s studio – hence the word “METAL” stencilled above the heads of the children.

The National Gallery of Modern Art ran an Eardley exhibition from May 2021 to August 2022 to mark the centenary of her birth. It offered an insight into her working practice and focuses on works produced in Catterline, the coastal village in Kincardineshire, where she worked from the early 1950s. The display was shown over two rooms, not a full-scale exhibition.

The works included nine oil paintings, 11 works on paper and a selection of photographs and archival materials. It included some the iconic Catterline in Winter (1963), Summer Fields (1961) and Snow (1958). Eardley was enrolled at Glasgow School of Art from 1940 through to 1949. After art school, from 1950 to 1957, her work focused on Glasgow and in particular Townhead, which was then a slum area.

In the late 1950s, while still living in Glasgow, she spent a lot of time in Catterline before moving there permanently in 1961. In 1948 the Royal Scottish Academy awarded her a Carnegie Scholarship which, together with a travelling scholarship from Glasgow School of Art, allowed her to visit Italy and, briefly, Paris for several months in 1948 and 1949.