John Bellany was born in Port Seton, East Lothian in 1942. He attended Edinburgh College of Art from 1960 to 1965 and studied painting under Sir Robin Philipson, who was known as a significant and influential presence on the Scottish Art Scene.
Bellany painted ‘The Boat Builders’ in 1962 and is considered unusual for an artist who had not yet matured in style or approach, which further adds to its interest.
Due to the size of the painting, it has rarely been seen since its creation in 1962; In fact, the Bellany Estate believes that it has only been on view to the public once and this was for at a retrospective exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland in 2012.
The painting acts as a fitting tribute to all of Scotland's ship and boat building history and heritage, especially the many workers involved in this industry both past and present.