Lot 39
  • 39

Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A.

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A.
  • The White Strand, Iona
  • signed l.l.: Peploe
  • oil on canvas
  • 50 by 61cm., 20 by 24in.


Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, Edinburgh;
Private collection

Catalogue Note

Peploe made his first visit to Iona in August 1920. He was invited to the beautiful island off the west coast of Mull, by his friend Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell who had painted the rugged coastal scenery since his own first visit in 1912. Peploe immediately became equally engaged by his surroundings and began to adopt Cadell's linear and abstract approach to landscape painting. 'Like Cadell he [Peploe] found the island offered him a release from the tensions of life in Edinburgh; it also provided an opportunity to relax with his growing family while, at the same time, offering a totally different inspiration. Peploe treated Iona as systematically as he did his studio still-lifes. While Cadell found subjects wherever he looked on the island, Peploe was much more methodical and limited in his outlook. Most of his Iona paintings are of the island's many bays, particularly at the north end, with the pale sands and intense blues and greens of the sea usually seen under skies flecked with cloud.' (Roger Billcliffe, The Scottish Colourists - Cadell, Fergusson, Hunter, Peploe, 1989, p. 52) The pictures he painted on Iona were immediately popular with collectors and 'did much to secure the artist's commercial success, at least paying the school fees. But the island was of far more significance for Peploe. It was a sanctuary. He felt in tune with this place.' (Guy Peploe, S. J. Peploe 1871-1935, 2000, p. 65)

The present picture was painted c.1925 on the far northeast shore of the island on the beach known as Traigh Ban nam Manach (White Strand of the Monks) described in Philip MacLeod Coupe’s book; ‘In the view north from this point the Strand is seen curving away to the northeast, ending at Cow’s Rock, beyond which there is a narrow stretch of water, the Strait of Storm, between Iona and the small rocky island of Eilean Annraidh - Island of Storm. This is crowned with grass above the rocks and has a white sandy beach on the southeast side… In the distance are the twin summits of Ulva, with the hills of Mull beyond.’ (Philip MacLeod Coupe’s, Paintings of Iona – Cadell and Peploe, 2014, p.59) The view across the Strand to Cnoc an t’-Suidhe (Cows Rock) was among Peploe’s favourite places to paint on the island and he particularly liked the way that the white sand beneath the shallows of the bay created ever-changing blues as it reflected the skies above. On sunny days the hue of the sea ranged from turquoise to peacock blue whilst in stormier conditions it could be deep grey-blue or purple.