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About Samuel John Peploe - Scottish Colourist Painter

Updated on August 25, 2015
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Katherine has researched and written about many British, European and Japanese Artists - both past and present

Introducing Samuel John (SJ) Peploe (1871 - 1935)

SJ Peploe is a very popular Scottish Colourist painter who worked in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He is most well known for his still life paintings - influenced by both Manet and Cezanne and his landscapes of the Scottish islands

In 2012-13, the National Gallery of Art in Scotland is holding a major retrospective exhibition of Peploe's paintings

This site provides a compendium of links to sites with information about the artist and where you can see his paintings online and in exhibitions, art museums and galleriesIt also lists books about Peploe.

One new book and a major revision of an existing book were published in 2012 to mark the major retrospective exhibition of his work in Edinburgh.

Image: SJ Peploe - self-portrait (crop) By Samuel Peploe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

BOOK: S. J. Peploe - by Alice Strang, Frances Fowle, Elizabeth Cumming

This book was produced for the major retrospective exhibition of the paintings of S.J. Peploe at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh in 2013.

It's an indispensable guide to the work of this very popular Scottish painter and member of the Scottish Colourists.

The cover of the book is his painting of a coffee pot which broke an auction record for a the sale of a painting by a Scottish Artist

S. J. Peploe
S. J. Peploe
Hardcover: 112 pages Publisher: Yale University Press (February 19, 2013)

The life of Samuel John Peploe - biographical information

Still life - apples and a jar by Samuel Peploe
Still life - apples and a jar by Samuel Peploe

Samuel John Peploe (known as SJ Peploe) was a Post-Impressionist Painter who was a member of the group of Scottish painters known as the Scottish Colourists.

The influence of both Cezanne and Manet is obvious in his paintings of landscapes and still life.

Born: 27 January 1871 at 39 Manor Place in Edinburgh | Died: 11 October 1935, Edinburgh


  • Collegiate School in Charlotte Square
  • 1893-4 Royal Scottish Academy Schools;
  • Academie Julian (studying with neo-classicist William Bouguereau) - winning the Silver Medal in 1894 - and Acadmie Colarossi in Paris

Influenced by:

  • Initially Dutch Masters (dark backgrounds) and
  • subsequently French Painting - Cezanne and Manet (re. still life).
  • Matisse and Van Gogh.
  • He maintained a brilliant palette on this return to live in Scotland. Latterly more tonal painting was enlivened by brilliant colour chords

Married: 1910 - Margaret McKay

Lived: 1910-1912 - Paris and Edinburgh

Member of: The Royal Scottish Academy and The Scottish Colourists

Subjects: Still Lifes (mainly flowers) and Landscapes and occasionally figures.


  • He only painted in oils and had no time for watercolour.
  • His process of picture-making involved "an obsessive need to practice, to observe and contemplate". He tended to destroy what he regarded as unsatisfactory.
  • Drawing was very important to him and he practiced drawing constantly and drew all his life.

1896: Professional career commenced

Exhibited his first work in 1897 and thereafter regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy, and the Royal Glasgow Institute.

1903: first solo exhibition at The Scottish Gallery - 20 works were sold

1936: Peploe's Memorial Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy

Studio: 1905 - 32 York Place (Henry Raeburn's old studio)

Travelled to paint in:

  • 1894: Barra - where he met his future wife
  • 1896: North Berwick - he used small transportable panels for his paintings
  • 1904 onwards - he painted in Northern France every summer and the Hebrides (with J. D. Fergusson)* France - Fauvist panels painted in Royan (1910), Cassis (1911, 1913).
  • Iona (with Francis Cadell) - painting landscapes and marine art. Peploe visited Iona in 1920 and then returned most summers - almost always painting at the northern end of the island.

Images: "Still Life - Apples and a Jar" by Samuel Peploe, via Wikimedia Commons

Iona, painting by Samuel Peploe, 1933
Iona, painting by Samuel Peploe, 1933 | Source

More about Samuel John Peploe - A Scottish Colourist Post-Impressionist Painter

Still Life of Mixed Rose in Chinese Vase By Samuel Peploe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

SJ Peploe in Museums and Art Galleries

"Although his work never became abstract, it was characterised by tight composition, strong colour and assured handling."

National Galleries of Scotland

SJ Peploe - Retrospective Exhibition of Life and Artwork (2012-13) - at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

A major exhibition was held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (3rd November 2012 - 23rd June 2013)The exhibition follows a chronological timelines of his work. It is devoted to the artist in his home town of Edinburgh, and throws fascinating new light on Peploe's life, on the influence of France on his work, and on his posthumous reputation.

S.J. Peploe
S.J. Peploe
Rated: 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews) Like (2)Fully revised and expanded since its first publication in 2000, Guy Peploe's insightful book on his artist grandfather, S.J. Peploe (1871-1935), reveals the considerable talents of one of Scotland's greatest painters and leading Colourists.Hardcover: 192 pagesPublisher: Lund Humphries (October 1, 2012)

Samuel John Peploe: An Illustrated History - by Guy Peploe

This is the original edition of this book by Guy Peploe

Paintings by SJ Peploe at Auction

The Coffee Pot, painting by Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

SJ Peploe in Online Galleries

websites provide access to images of the paintings by SJ Peploe.

The Scottish Colourists: 1900-1930

I have a copy of this book - and it took me a very long time to find a copy!This is one of the principal books about the Scottish Colourists - Cadell, Fergusson, Hunter and Peploe

The Scottish Colourists: 1900-1930
The Scottish Colourists: 1900-1930
Hardcover: 152 pages Publisher: Trafalgar Square (March 2001)

About The Scottish Colourists

The Scottish Colourists are: John Duncan Fergusson, Francis Cadell, Samuel Peploe and Leslie Hunter.


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