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Buchanan, Elspeth

Elspeth Buchanan (1915 - 2011) was a prolific painter whose talents took her to the heart of Britain’s secret naval intelligence operation during the Second World War.

The daughter of eminent artist Evelyne Oughtred Buchanan, Elspeth was born in Bridge of Weir, in the west of Scotland, in 1915. The family soon moved to Edinburgh and Elspeth graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. She obtained a travelling scholarship and spent some time in Europe before returning to the UK where she was active as a draughtsperson during the second world war in naval intelligence, based in Oxford. During her time in Oxford Elspeth also studied under the major artist Bernard Meninsky. She was a member of the Scottish Society of Artists and the Scottish Society of Women Artists. She continued to paint until well into her eighties and was seen sketching right up until her nineties. 

Elspeth Buchanan's work has sold at major auction houses including Bonhams. Her style varied over the years. For example, she did figurative 'Arts & Crafts' style book illustrations early in her career before developing a more experimental style.

In her youth, she had concentrated on more figurative work, but her style changed to focus more on Scottish landscapes in both watercolour and oils and she drew inspiration from painting holidays on Arran, Iona and in Plockton.


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