The Scottish Colourist Series: SJ Peploe

  • 3rd November 2012 − 23rd June 2013 | Modern Two (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) | £7 (£5)


Around 1923 Peploe’s work developed once more. Flowers were replaced by new props, including a treacle-glazed teapot, earthenware vases and loaves of bread. The rustic nature of Peploe’s accessories was matched by a new, low-toned palette, while his paint thickened and was applied with broader brushstrokes. The evolution from the sophisticated still-lifes of pre-1910, through the experimental design-based still-lifes of the pre-war years, to the highly disciplined still-lifes of the early 1920s was complete.

This pronounced late style can also be seen in Peploe’s Iona paintings. A crispness of light and design which had much in common with Cadell’s depictions of the island, gave way to a more passionate and summery technique. His interest in trees as subject matter became increasingly pronounced during painting trips around Scotland’s mainland, including to Boat of Garten and Rothiemurchus.

Perhaps surprisingly given his personal reticence, in 1933 Peploe joined the teaching staff of Edinburgh College of Art. Unfortunately, his last years were marred by ill-health and by the following session his teaching duties were taken over by William Gillies. A move to a new studio in 1934, the year of his last solo exhibition, held at Reid & Lefèvre in London, resulted in just two paintings. Peploe died in Edinburgh on 11 October 1935 and is buried in the family grave in the Dean Cemetery.