The Burning
© The Artist's Estate

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The Burning 1963
  • Scottish Art
This large and dramatic watercolour triptych was initially created as three separate paintings. Philipson commented that, ‘One day, when I had them laid side by side on the floor to study them, I realised that they were in a fact a single statement in three parts.’ On the left panel, a figure stands against a dark scaffold with flames licking upwards. A muted middle panel balances this against the ominous darkness developing from the bottom of the right panel. The rich blues of the rose window set the scene unmistakably in a Gothic cathedral. Painted in deep, glowing colours, the triptych’s subject matter and the vigorous paint handling imply violence. Much of Philipson’s subject matter of the 1960s reflected his rage following his wife’s premature death in 1960.

Glossary Open


The art and architectural style that dominated Western Europe during the medieval period. Its buildings are characterised by pointed arches, strong vertical lines and elaborate window structures. The style was widely revived in the 19th century.


An artwork consisting of three components. It may refer specifically to a work with wings that fold over the central image; this is a common form for altarpieces.


A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.

Gothic, Triptych, Watercolour


  • Acc. No. GMA 848
  • Medium Watercolour, pastel, gouache and black chalk on paper (triptych)
  • Size Three panels, each 137.20 x 81.30 cm
  • Credit Purchased (Gulbenkian UK Trust Fund) 1963