Peploe's still lifes changed and developed throughout his career, and his desire for perfection in his work was obtained through his vigorous approach to the genre. Peploe said 'There is so much in mere objects, flowers, leaves, jugs, what not - colours, forms, relation - I can never see mystery coming to an end' (S. Cursiter, Peploe, London, 1947, p. 73). It was his approach to the 'colours, forms, relation' that he was able to adapt and extend, developing his still lifes into more sophisticated and subtle works.
Peploe's still lifes from the years just before and during the First World War were painted with very bright and pure colour, often set against rather busy backgrounds. Peploe continued to use these bold colours in the still lifes of 1919-1920. The works from the early to mid 1920s, such as Still life with pink roses, gradually took on a more delicate palette than in the few years prior to that. Peploe's refined approach to his subject is demonstrated in the present work, through his use of lighting and colour and through his seemingly simple arrangement of his still life objects - the pink roses in a Chinese vase, a fan and an orange in a bowl.
The present work, which has not been seen publicly since its acquistion as the cornerstone of a fine collection of Scottish pictures in the late 1920s, is a classic example. Dating from the early 1920s, it recalls Peploe's Roses which was sold at Christie's, Edinburgh, 23 October 2008 for a world auction record of £529,250.