signed lower right W SCOTT
William Scott Archive no.158
Scott coupled a fascination with still-life painting with an unusual ability to capture spatial tension through the juxtaposition of simplified, everyday objects. Though he was essentially indifferent to the function...
Scott coupled a fascination with still-life painting with an unusual ability to capture spatial tension through the juxtaposition of simplified, everyday objects. Though he was essentially indifferent to the function of these items, he was acutely aware of their place in the still-life tradition. He also possessed a keen eye for colour, as demonstrated by this work, which relies heavily for its impact on the contrast between the blues of the background and the vibrant yellow of the lemons. This contrast complements the interplay between the various elements and shapes of the composition.
Frying Pan, Eggs and Napkin, was included in Scott's solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1951. It was bought by Howard Bliss and shown in Bradford the following year along with other paintings from his collection, an event recorded in the Yorkshire Observer, on 4 August 1952: 'Twelve pictures from the collection of Mr Howard Bliss have been put on view on ground floor screens at Cartwright Memorial Hall, Bradford ... William Scott's two efforts inspired by the raw materials for meals "Frying Pan, Eggs and Napkin" and "Still Life with Eggs Colander and Beans" should inspire a housewife with the thought that there is more in the colour and design in the accidentals of the kitchen than is commonly attributed to them.'
Bliss had initially shown an interest in buying Still Life with Candlestick (WS 151), which was also shown at the Leicester Galleries in 1951, but instead chose the present, slightly larger still life in which the draped cloths emphasise the artist's links with the French still-life tradition. Bliss, who rarely hung on to paintings for long, appears to have sold the present work to Arthur Tooth & Sons. A handwritten list of 'Pictures Sold at Tooth's' records that the painting was sold in May 1958 to Richard Attenborough. By 1987, when it was acquired by the New Art Centre, London, in half shares with Gimpel Fils, the painting had been through the hands of a number of London dealers including the Piccadilly Gallery, the Crane Kalman Gallery and Marlborough Fine Art. A letter to Scott dated 21 January 1977 shows that for a while it was owned by Anthony Rendlesham who had written to Scott asking if he knew of any potential purchaser, adding, 'as I seem to recall you mentioning that your early pictures were difficult to get hold of one day when you were in the shop'.
It was one of several paintings Scott had reframed for his retrospective at the Tate in 1972. The title appears on an invoice from Robert Sielle dated 26 April 1972 and specifies a frame similar to that made for Girl and Blue Table (WS 30), with a 'special pattern with English gold face'.
It may have been this work that Patrick Heron had in mind when he wrote about Scott's 'fine handling of paint' in his tribute to his old friend which appeared in Art Monthly, 19 February 1990: 'A sensuous emptiness could be said to have pervaded the greys, the dirty whites and the wonderful black of William Scott, whether the work was a still life of a frying pan with only two eggs or was totally figurative.'
William Scott Catalogue Raisonné
Arthur Tooth and Sons
Sir Richard Attenborough
with Piccadilly Gallery, London Lord and Lady Rendlesham
with Crane Kalman Gallery, London Private Collection, UK
with Marlborough Fine Art, London, New Art Centre & Gimpel Fils, London
Private Collection, Dallas, Texas, USA
Thence by descent with Offer Waterman, London
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
London, Leicester Galleries, Recent Paintings by William Scott, 1 - 22 February 1951, cat no. 2 Bradford, Cartwright Memorial Hall, August 1952 (exhibition details not traced) London, Tate Gallery, William Scott: Paintings Drawings and Gouaches 1938-1971, 19 April - 29 May 1972, cat no.23, illus b/w London, Crane Kalman Gallery, British Art of Outstanding Quality, June - September 1978
Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, Taking Stock: Acquisitions 2000-2010, 13 March - 25 July, illus colour
'Something for Everyone at the Cartwright', Yorkshire Observer, 4 August 1952 Tate Gallery, London, William Scott: Paintings Drawings and Gouaches 1938-1971, exhibition catalogue, 19 April - 29 May 1972, cat no.23., pp. 42-43, illus b/w p43 Keith Roberts, in The Burlington Magazine, June 1972, vol. 114, no.831, p424, illus b/w fig.78 British Council, Illustrated Recorded Lecture 1974, slide 24 John Sunderland, Painting in Britain 1525 - 1975, Phaidon, Oxford, 1976, cat no.209, illus b/w 'Two Scotts on view at Crane Kalman', Apollo, September 1978, p.207, illus b/w
Norbert Lynton, William Scott, Thames and Hudson, London, 2004, p88
Offer Waterman, Modern British Art, 2010, London, cat no.14, illus colour
Sarah Whitfield, William Scott Catalogue Raisonné of Oil Paintings 1913-1951, Volume 21, cat no.172, p244, illus colour p245
You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.