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  • W
  • Thomas Warrender

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Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Although apparently a straightforward ‘trompe l’oeil’ (illusionist) still-life, an inscription on the back of this picture claims that it has a symbolic message. The note reads "2 Royalist Allegorical Pictures/Explanation in the Keeping of the/family". This explanation having been lost, the precise meaning of the picture has defied convincing interpretation. In its general composition the painting evokes the still-life paintings of the seventeenth century Netherlandish artist Edwaert Colyer. This is Warrender’s only known easel painting.

Glossary Open


Where the ‘story’ of a work has a deeper underlying meaning – often used for the representation of grand, abstract ideas.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Still life

A painting, drawing or photograph depicting inanimate objects.

Trompe l'oeil

This term, from the French meaning ‘to deceive the eye’, is used to describe a form of illusionism utilised by artists to trick the viewer. It often involves the extremely realistic representation of an object in three-dimensions.

Allegory, Composition, Still life, Trompe l'oeil


  • Acc. No. NG 2404
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 59.10 x 74.30 cm (fd 71.2 x 87.2cm HS)
  • Credit Purchased 1980