Lot 31
  • 31

Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A.

150,000 - 250,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A.
  • Still Life with Coffee Pot and Fan
  • oil on board
  • 16.5 by 24 cm., 6½ by 9½ in.


Ernest Lumsden, Esq.;
The Fine Art Society, where purchased by the present owner


Aitken Dott & Son, Edinburgh, Memorial Exhibition of Paintings by Samuel John Peploe, April-May 1936, no.49, lent by Ernest Lumsden;
The Fine Art Society, Three Scottish Colourists, February-April 1977, no.1;
The Fine Art Society, Scottish Colourists, July 2000, no.22

Catalogue Note

Two of the earliest influences on Samuel Peploe’s work were those of Edouard Manet and Frans Hals. The dark backgrounds and subtle tonal values of the Dutch school were combined with lusciously thick brushstrokes and resulted in the bravura tonal style of his early period. Around 1905, Peploe embarked on a series of elegant still lifes of table tops on which are placed silver, glassware and Chinese porcelain. Predominantly dark backgrounds are contrasted with exuberantly applied light tones and bright pinpoint touches of colour, seen here in the thickly impastoed highlights to the glasses and coffee pot. He incorporates, even at this early date, motifs that will return again and again over the years: a pale pink rose lies on the table cloth beside a closed fan with black ribbon; a single orange positioned in the background provides one of the few high notes of colour within the composition, balancing the subtle Wistlerian palette of the rest. The objects appear casually arranged yet Peploe has created a complex and harmonious arrangement. 

While this picture is considered to be early within the artist’s oeuvre, Peploe was already over 30 when he painted it and the bold, spontaneous brushwork that makes up the rose and fan, or the sweeping stroke that delineates the glass, demonstrates a highly skilled and experienced artist at work. It is no surprise that having mastered the genre, Peploe moved swiftly on to pastures new, not content to rest within the confines of a tonal style, Edwardian in essence. Encouraged by his friendship with John Duncan Fergusson and his trips to France, he was discovering colour in a purer form. His change in style was not greeted cheerfully by his dealer McOmish Dott who had already established a demand for Peploe's earlier work; but today, the comparative rarity in the sale rooms of such still lifes, coupled with their virtuosity of technique, have made them some of his most desirable pictures for collectors.