Cadell was twelve years younger than S.J. Peploe but just as precocious and was producing very capable watercolours and drawings in his early teens. Half French, he was taken to France and Munich by his mother for artistic education and some very fine, freely painted farmyard paintings date from this early period. Despite his sophistication, Cadell's most natural habitat was the west Highlands, Iona in particular, and he made only a few painting trips to France after the War. He produced some of his most brilliant Colourist works while staying with the Peploes in Cassis in 1924. Very fashion conscious, his work before 1914 had an Edwardian opulence and breadth unique in Scottish painting. By the twenties his work had a hard edge with clear colour, chiming with the jazz-age, and the compositions have a deco stylishness full of sophistication of concept and originality of palette. He is as original and distinctive a voice as any in Scottish painting.
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