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Margot Sandeman was born in Glasgow, the daughter of embroiderer Muriel Boyd and self-taught watercolourist Archibald Sandeman. Her mother, whose work became internationally known, had studied at Glasgow School of Art under Jessie Newbery
Margot followed her mother to GSA where she was quickly singled out, along with Joan Eardley, by Hugh Adam Crawford, head of drawing and painting, for an experiment in which a very small number of outstanding students in that 1939 session were selected for special attention. This effectively amounted to a three-year course in two years, with Crawford himself as tutor. Sandeman and Eardley, who were life-long friends, lived not far from each other in Bearsden, and frequently drew and painted together in the Campsies, and later at Corrie on Arran.
Graduating in 1942, Sandeman was sent on wartime work to Bletchley Park until she was granted compassionate leave to look after her sick mother. In 1946 she married the potter and ceramicist James Robson, an art-school contemporary. The couple purchased the Bothy, a small house in High Corrie, Arran, as a place to spend the summer with their two sons. The island became her second home, to which she returned at least annually.
In 1970 she won the Guthrie Award of the Royal Scottish Academy, the Redpath Award from the Society of Scottish Artists and a Scottish Arts Council prize, going on in 1989 to be Scottish winner in the Laing Competition. The Arran landscape was a constant inspiration for her paintings. She also collaborated with her old friend and Art School contemporary Ian Hamilton Finlay on his texts, creating a parallel series of still-lifes plus illustrations for his "concrete poetry". Another project saw her produce a suite of paintings to accompany a celebration of the life of dramatist and poet Robert McLellan, a neighbour in High Corrie.
The critic Cordelia Oliver was among many admirers, stating, "among Scottish painters of her own time, there is no other whose work reveals such a combination of deep-rootedness in a given place with an equally strong sense of mind set free to soar into a world of visual poetry".
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- GSA Registers
- The Herald, Monday 31 Jan, 2011 obituary by Gordon Casely