Born and educated in Edinburgh, Francis Cadell completed his studies at the Académie Julian in Paris. After two years in Munich and a visit to Venice in 1910, Cadell remained in Edinburgh, painting the fashionable objects and people of New Town society. He served first as a private soldier and then as an officer in the First World War. Cadell’s post-war work was much more precise than the loose, impressionistic style of his pre-war paintings. In later life he struggled with health and financial problems but was supported by his friend, Peploe, with whom he painted at Iona during the summer months.