Book Shorts

This little book will help the Scottish Colourists find further fame south of the border

Well known between the two World Wars, the four French-trained artists are slowly coming back into critical attention

S.J. Peploe, Luxembourg Gardens (around 1910) ©The Fleming Collection

Until very recently, the so-called Scottish Colourists were little known even in Scotland, let alone Britain. Exhibitions at the Fleming Collection in London have raised their profile, and James Knox, the collection’s director, has been indefatigable in his efforts to draw attention to their undoubted quality. The Scottish Colourists were four Scots artists—Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, Samuel John Peploe, John Fergusson and George Leslie Hunter—who studied and worked in France, adopting the manner of the French Impressionists and Fauvists, but using Scottish subjects, such as towns, landscapes, Edinburgh interiors and Scottish sitters, for their portraits.

They often showed their work as a quartet in exhibitions between the two World Wars. After the Second World War they were largely forgotten, but have since been undergoing serious reassessments individually and as a group. Their work is held mostly in museums and galleries in Scotland (mainly in Perth, Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow), but as social media and digital programmes continue to grow in scope and precision, they will no doubt become better known as their artistic quality is not in doubt (as can been seen in this view, Luxembourg Gardens by Peploe). This little book will serve as a condensed introduction to the group and its individuals and the high quality of the reproductions serves their work well.

  • James Knox, The Scottish Colourists: Their Story, Their Art, Fleming Collection, 64pp, £12.45 (hb)