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Grey Still LIfe
© 2010 Estate of William Scott

Reference URL

Grey Still LIfe 1969

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
In this still life, objects have been reduced to their basic outlines. The frying pan is seen from above and the round bottomed bowls are seen from the side. The painting is from a period when Scott had begun to reintroduce figurative references into his paintings after a period of painting abstracts. However the objects are reduced to flat shapes without a physical presence, almost hovering above the picture plane. The painting is also an exploration of colour and tone. Scott described it as a ‘work of twentieth-century tonalist painting.’

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.

Figurative art

A general term for art that refers to the real, visible world, used more specifically for the representation of the human figure.

Picture Plane

The imaginary plane represented by the physical surface of a painting or drawing. Traditionally it can be compared to a window separating viewers from an image. In modern art, artists such as the cubists and abstract painters often tried to emphasise the idea of a painting as a flat, two-dimensional object, instead of an illusionistic window on the world.

Still life

A painting, drawing or photograph depicting inanimate objects.

Abstract art, Figurative art, Picture Plane, Still life


  • Acc. No. GMA 1262
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 168.00 x 172.00 cm
  • Credit Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh: purchased 1972.