Artwork of the Month - July 2017

Bowl, Eggs and Lemons, 1950

Bowl, Eggs and Lemons
Oil on canvas
52 x 64.7 cm / 20½ x 25½ in
Signed lower right W. SCOTT
Private collection

This painting was bought by Peter Meyer from the St George’s Gallery, on Grosvenor Street in London, in July 1950. The director of the Gallery, Lea Jaray, wrote to Scott on 13 July to let him know: ‘We sold the painting straight away when we got it in which was only last Monday.’ (The receipt from the gallery gives the title as Still Life whereas a strip of the artist’s headed writing paper fixed to the stretcher is inscribed in his writing: ‘“BOWL, EGGS AND LEMONS” “STILL LIFE”’.) The quick sale is not surprising. The painting is one of Scott’s most eloquent and visually satisfying compositions. Although not mentioned in the title, the shadow of a frying pan remains; its shape is suggested under the bowl, while its handle provides a clever balance to the roundness of the bowl, eggs and lemons.

Meyer, who had been closely involved with the Contemporary Art Society since a young age, was sufficiently well known as a collector of contemporary British art to be invited to show his collection as part of the touring exhibition ‘Three Young Collectors’ mounted by the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1952. The painting, illustrated in black-and-white in the catalogue, was listed as Bowl, Eggs and Lemons. Scott himself chose to include the work in his 1972 retrospective exhibition held at the Tate Gallery.

An unfinished portrait of the artist’s son, Robert, is found on the verso.

Supporting image
Verso with unfinished portrait of Robert Scott

Supporting image
Strip of artist’s writing paper on stretcher