Interior with Girl in White signed 'Peploe' (lower right) oil on canvas 101.5 x 77 cm. (40 x 30 1/4 in.) Painted circa 1905/07
PROVENANCE: With Alexander Reid, Glasgow Willy Peploe (the artist's brother) With the Fine Art Society, London 1968 With Duncan R. Miller Fine Arts, London
EXHIBITED: Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, S.J. Peploe, June-September, 1985, no. 42 Glasgow, Duncan R. Miller Fine Arts, The Scottish Colourists, 5- 28 May 1995, cat. no. 1 (Peploe) London, Duncan R. Miller Fine Arts, Aspects of Twentieth Century Scottish Art, Autumn 1996, cat. no. 2
This 'White Period' picture was painted in what had been Sir Henry Raeburn's studio in York Place, Edinburgh, where Peploe worked 1905-10. His biographer Stanley Cursiter (Peploe, Thomas Nelson, London, 1947, p.17) describes it thus: "Peploe decorated the room in a pale grey with a hint of pink: on the floor he had black polished linoleum, a white sofa, a few chairs, an antique bureau...Here he painted in a very light key...interiors, and figure pictures in pale and lovely colours. He had a new model, Peggie McRae, a charming, witty and attractive girl, who had the rare gift of complete grace which made her every movement interesting; she dropped naturally into poses which were balanced and harmonious and, better still, she immediately impersonated the figure she was asked to represent...Peggie McRae fitted perfectly into the pale grey, polished black and the white sofa of Peploe's new setting, and she was the original of many of the figure pictures in pink, grey, and black, and the pale pictures in muted whites, that he painted at this time."
Cursiter goes on to describe how the artist's technique changed: "he adopted a medium which gave a still richer surface and which appeared to hold the brush marks with a still fuller body of paint. It has been suggested that he actually used some form of enamel, as the pigment takes on the smooth creamy quality and the flowing texture...it is more probable that his medium contained a large proportion of stand oil with some addition of varnish. Whatever it was, it had a very pleasing quality, slightly translucent..." (ibid, p.18)
This is an elegant and fluid figure work on an imposing scale, betraying the influence of Sargent, and anticipates Peploe's celebrated A Girl in White of 1907.