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Heavy Structures in a Landscape Setting
© Estate of William McCance

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Heavy Structures in a Landscape Setting Dated 1922

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
During the 1920s William McCance lived in London, where this work was painted. The semi-abstract style shows the influence of the London avant-garde art scene on McCance. It is comparable with works by Wyndham Lewis and William Roberts, and indeed, the artist had a close connection with Roberts, who rented a room in McCance’s flat. The forms in the painting have an ominous feel. The structures in the foreground suggest a military gun battery, while the white shapes at the top of the picture may be coastal cliffs, primed against attack. An unusual feature of the work is the shaped hardboard frame laid over the canvas, which underlines the modernity of the composition.

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.

Avant garde

Cultural practices that challenge tradition through experimentation and innovation. Originally a military term, in art it is particularly associated with the late 19th and 20th centuries.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Abstract art, Avant garde, Composition


  • Acc. No. GMA 3612
  • Medium Oil on canvas with irregular seven-sided shaped hardboard sheet, painted white, laid on top
  • Size 71.20 x 91.70 cm; (maximum visible canvas surface 68.80 x 83.50 cm); (framed: 81.10 x 100.20 x 6.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1992