Part I of Bonhams' Scottish Sale was topped by a stunning still life from post-impressionist painter Samuel John Peploe in Edinburgh yesterday (August 20).
Peploe was a founding member of the group of four painters known as the Scottish Colourists and is noted for his immersion in the still life genre, after assigning himself the task of creating the perfect composition.
At the outset of his career, Peploe created still life works that were reminiscent of those produced by the Dutch masters, featuring dark backgrounds and relatively ordinary subject matter. However, on his return from the first world war, his work presented a more experimental style that was freer in its use of vibrant colours. The piece at auction was coveted by collectors as it encapsulated the transition between these two styles during the 1920s, and featured a number of the characteristics of his best-known works.
A striking depiction of mixed roses in a Chinese vase, the painting achieved £421,250 against a pre-sale high estimate of £300,000 - an impressive 40.4% increase on the expected price.
The current world record for Peploe's work stands with his Still Life with Coffee Pot, which sold for £937,250 at Christie's in 2011. The 1905 work also remains the most valuable Scottish painting ever sold at auction.
Also starring in the auction was a rediscovered work from Samuel Bough, which sold for £109,250 at the low end of its £100,000-150,000 estimate. A stunning depiction of Edinburgh Castle, it offered a rare chance to own a quality piece of Bough's work, which is notoriously inconsistent despite his finest creations often being regarded as masterpieces.
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