William MacTaggart enjoyed a long career as an artist, exhibiting regularly from 1920. In the 1950s he began painting a series of still lifes framed by windows. These have been compared to the work of the French painter Edouard Vuillard in their evocation of a privileged, enclosed space. In this painting from around 1962 a vase of poppies is framed by a window, through which can be seen a row of houses in Edinburgh’s New Town, opposite MacTaggart’s studio. The painting is not only a still life but a study in mood and tone, the rich, deep blues of the night sky balancing the colourful and exuberantly painted flowers.