Scott began painting still lifes of kitchen objects in the 1930s, focusing on everyday objects such as bottles, pans and pots. Mackerel on a Plate
reflects the influence of the French still life tradition which took simple compositions of food and everyday items as their subject. It marks a significant stage in the artist’s career – a point where his work became flatter before veering into total abstraction.
Mackerel on a Plate
Date of work
Original: Oil Paint on Canvas 55.9 x 76.2 cm © Estate of William Scott 2020
An internationally acclaimed painter modern painter, William Scott was born in 1913 in Greenock, Scotland. His powerful handling of paint extended over still life, landscape and nude genres. He is best known for his still life paintings of everyday objects – saucepans, eggs and bottles – in domestic settings. In the 1950s his work became more erotically charged, morphing into complete abstraction in the mid-50s. He continued to alternate between abstraction and a more representative style throughout his career, pushing the boundaries of each. His work has an enduring human quality that confronts complexity and emotion through compositions of deliberate and measured simplicity.