Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935)
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Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935)

Roses in a blue and white jar

Details
Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935)
Roses in a blue and white jar
signed 'Peploe' (lower left)
oil on canvas
18 x 16 in. (45.7 x 40.7 cm.)
Painted circa 1927.
Provenance
with Aitken Dott & Son, Edinburgh.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, Scotland, 25 April 1985, lot 149, as ‘Roses in blue and white beaker’.
with Richard Green, London, where purchased by the present owner, November 1986.
Exhibited
Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, Festival Exhibiton: Peploe, Cadell, Hunter, 1949, as ‘Roses in blue and white beaker’.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Louise Simpson
Louise Simpson

Lot Essay

The subject matter of Roses in a blue and white jar is the one Peploe is most associated with today. Four blooms of varying pastel shades are delicately arranged in the blue and white vessel. The virtually unlimited variations of the shape, colour and arrangement of the flowers meant it was a subject Peploe returned to again and again. The work is a classic example of Peploe’s many still lifes of the 1920s, demonstrating the care and attention taken by the artist to perfect this technique. He was known to spend pain-staking hours arranging and re-arranging the various props he kept in his studio – favourite literary works, a selection of blue and white vases, freshly cut flowers and fruit amongst others. Guy Peploe characterises the artist’s approach to perfecting his compositions as ‘intense, sometimes pseudo-scientific investigation…with tireless, almost obsessive energy [he] tried to construct the significant out of the common place’ (G. Peploe, S.J. Peploe, Farnham, 2012, p. 119). Roses in a blue and white jar is a perfectly harmonious composition. There is a pleasing balance between the weighty three blooms on the left and the contrast between the single tall pink rose and the thick folds of the white drapes on the right. The thoughtful almost-symmetry is extended to the placement of the books; one, white and open and two others in a neat stack of complimentary blue and orange.

In 1920 Peploe first visited the tiny Scottish island of Iona, a place that would affect his work profoundly and that he would go on to visit most years from then until his death. His good friend Cadell owned a house on the island and Iona became somewhat of a sanctuary to Peploe. Roses in a blue and white jar possesses the effects of these trips to Iona through the use of colour that also appears in his works of the island. The icy pastel pinks, blues and oranges, with the use of pure white is reminiscent of the palette used by Peploe in his many depictions of the isolated coves and beaches of Iona.

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