Artwork of the Month - May 2016

William_Scott__Marigolds_in_a_White_Jug__1947_or_1948.jpg
Marigolds in a White Jug, 1947 or 1948

Marigolds in a White Jug
1947 or 1948
Oil on canvas
39.4 x 49.5 cm / 15½ x 19½ in
Private collection, Hong Kong

Marigolds in a White Jug was first exhibited at Scott’s 1948 solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, London, which opened in October of that year. Like many of the other works in the show, the painting reveals Scott’s transition to a more abstracted way of working. Alongside the flattening out of the picture plane is a stripping back of subject matter, to reveal the bare essentials; colour, line and form. As Norbert Lynton has remarked of this period in Scott’s career, he was now evidently, ‘regarded as a key contributor to progressive British art, even to what might be called the official avant-garde’ [Lynton 2004, p. 78]. Lynton goes on to cite the critic for the Times, who wrote of the Leicester Galleries exhibition, “the plainest objects are set down in what appears to be the plainest way” to produce images “of inescapable force” thanks to his “assurance and firmness of design.”’

The painting was bought from Scott by the photographer, painter and collagist Elsbeth Juda (1911-2014), partly as she was particularly fond of marigolds. When the Juda Collection was shown at Sheffield in 1967 the work was recorded as ‘Flowers in a Jug, 1950’. Given that the work was bought directly from the artist he may have supplied both the title and date although no confirmation that he did so has been found. Certainly, the subject and composition suggest a date of either 1947 or 1948.