Samuel John Peploe

Still life with roses

Oil on canvas: 18(h) x 16(w) in /

45.7(h) x 40.6(w) cm

Signed lower centre: Peploe

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SP 5471



1871 – Edinburgh – 1935


Still life with roses


Signed lower centre: Peploe

Oil on canvas: 18 x 16 in / 45.7 x 40.6 cm

Frame size: 26 x 24 in / 66 x 61 cm


Painted circa 1933



Aitken Dott & Son, Edinburgh [156/33]

Private collection, Scotland, then by descent



Edinburgh, The Scottish Gallery, Aitken Dott & Son, Paintings and Drawings by S. J. Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935), 18th August – 13th September 1947, no. 34 (entitled Roses)



This stylish late work, like Roses in a grey jar, c. 1933, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Roses, at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, displays a refined, almost monochrome palette in harmony with the pale grey vase, enlivened by bright pink, red and yellow roses and the vigorous application of paint. For Stanley Cursiter, Peploe’s work of the 1930s reveals ‘a still greater richness and fullness due in great measure to an increased acceptance of the muted harmonies of quieter and more broken colour. There is no longer the slightest suggestion that the colour was being searched for and accentuated for its own sake, but rather that the whole picture surface was a web of some rich material in which notes of colour emerge and forms take shape.’[1]



S.J. Peploe, Roses in a grey jar                                                                 S.J. Peploe, Roses

c. 1933   

Oil on canvas: 50.8 x 40.6 cm                                                             Oil on board: 44 x 39 cm

Scottish National Gallery of                                                                MIMA, Middlesbrough

Modern Art, Edinburgh                                                                      Institute of Modern Art







1871 – Edinburgh – 1935


Samuel John Peploe was the eldest of the Scottish Colourists and worked in a style remarkable for its painterly freedom and richness of colour. Together with Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, George Leslie Hunter and John Duncan Fergusson, whose work was also characterised by the bold handling and use of colour, they were dubbed ‘Les Peintres de L’Ecosse Moderne’ following their first exhibition in Paris in 1924.


Peploe first studied at the Edinburgh College of Art in 1893, and then continued his training in Paris, at both the Académie Julian under Adolphe William Bouguereau (1825-1905), and the Académie Colarossi. At this time he was considerably impressed by the work of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779), Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). He also admired Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), and seventeenth-century Dutch painters, especially Frans Hals (c1582-1666), whose work he saw on a visit to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, in 1895. During this period, Peploe led a cosmopolitan life, working in Britain, and travelling extensively throughout France, in the company of his friend and colleague, Fergusson, with whom he spent several holidays painting at Etaples, Paris Plage, Dunkirk, Berneval, Dieppe and Le Tréport. In 1896, Peploe returned to Edinburgh and settled at his first studio in Shandwick Place, where the dark surroundings suited the sombre palette of his early still lifes, nudes and figure studies. He moved to Devon Place in 1900, where he developed a more sophisticated choice of subject matter, matched by an increasingly rich application of paint, and to York Place in 1905, where lighter space was reflected in the heightened tonality of his work.


He married Margaret MacKay in 1910, and decided to move to Paris where he remained until 1912, when he returned permanently to Edinburgh and set up a studio in Queen Street. He painted in Arran in 1913, in Crawford and Kikcudbright in 1914, and frequently spent the summer painting in Iona, with Cadell, between 1920- 1933. Peploe exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, where he was elected a member in 1927, at the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, and in London at the Allied Artists’ Association.


The work of Samuel John Peploe is represented in Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, University of Aberdeen; University of St Andrews; Rozelle House Galleries, South Ayrshire; Birmingham Museums Trust; Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford; Brighton and Hove Museums and Art Galleries; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Pallant House Gallery, Chichester; Gracefield Arts Centre, The Stewarty Museum, Dumfries and Galloway; Lillie Art Gallery, East Dunbartonshire; Dundee Art Galleries and Museums, University of Dundee; National Museum Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh Council, University of Edinburgh; Kirkcaldy

Galleries, Fife; the Burrell Collection, Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, University of Hull; McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Inverclyde; Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts Trust, Kendal; Leeds Museums and Galleries; The Courtauld Gallery, the Fleming Collection, Tate Britain and William Morris Gallery, London; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA); Manchester City Galleries; National Trust for Scotland; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Renfrewshire; Perth & Kinross Council; The Atkinson, Southport; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent and Ulster Museum, National Museums Northern Ireland.


[1] Stanley Cursiter, Peploe. An intimate memoir of an artist and of his work,Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London, 1947, p. 76.

Modern BritishSamuel John Peploe