'I do with a spot of red or yellow in a harmony of grey what my father did in his tweeds'.
The daughter of a tweed designer, colour harmonies and an unerring eye for singing contrasts became the hallmark of her painting style. (P. Bourne, Anne Redpath, Edinburgh, 2004, p. 14).
Redpath was a painter whose career truly reached a crescendo in the latter half of her life. Some of her best works were produced in the 1940s and 1950s, on her return from France. By the 1950s, she was living in Edinburgh and enjoying a reputation shared by few other contemporary Scottish and particularly female painters. In 1952 Redpath was elected Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy, only the second female artist to be awarded this honour.
During the 1950s her still lifes had evolved; the compositions were created using small, specific pieces of pottery and porcelain and the palette was restrained to pale whites and muted pastel tones. Although she returned from her continental trips full of inspiration for landscapes, street scenes and church interiors, as many as half of the paintings she exhibited throughout the 1950s were still lifes: 'When I came back and painted still-life [they] were stronger. They were harsher if you like, too. That has been the result of every voyage abroad. Your palette sort of enlarges itself' (Anne Redpath, in an interview with the BBC at her home in Edinburgh, first shown on 31 January 1961).
Bourne remarks 'she was an extrovert and sensitive, and this balance between strength and subtlety is the key to her achievement as a painter' (P. Bourne, op. cit., p. 7). The vibrant dashes of colour juxtaposed with subtle pastel-like tones so indicative of Redpath's work of this period, are wonderfully displayed in the present work. Largely composed of pastel blues, greys and mauves, the delicate tones in the picture lay a soft background against which the acidic green and deep yellows of the summer flowers are allowed to sing, accentuating their vitality.
'I am someone who is very interested in colour, and by that I mean bright colour, gay colour, but at the same time, if you are a colourist you like quiet colour as well, and I think this love of gay colour contrasted in my mind with this love of whites, and greys' (P. Bourne, op. cit., p. 106). Furthermore, in Summer Flowers in a Jug, Redpath combines the strength of a bold composition with the subtlety of colouring: a technique which marks her experiments in pale tones.