Published date: 17 Jan 2013
"Still Life of Mixed Roses in Chinese Vase" by Samuel John Peploe was a very special work. Painted around 1920, a pivotal moment in Peploe's artistic career, it marks the high point in his exploration of still life painting which began before World War I with small scale works featuring everyday objects against a dark background. As Peploe became more experimental, employing more vibrant color and dramatic form, he became obsessed with painting the perfect still life, painstakingly setting up compositions featuring flowers and favorite motifs such as the Chinese vase, fan, crockery and drapery evident in this picture. This transitional work has an arresting red ground and employs the typical cropped forms, flattened picture space and motifs which are hallmarks of his most characteristic pictures. Peploe's palette would become chalky and the color more restrained after 1920 making this painting a fascinating and beautiful example of a key moment in his artistic development."