About this artwork

Ferguson became well known for his still life paintings. As well as this example, the Scottish National Gallery holds three others (NG 1029, NG 2096, and NG 970), but all of these show scenes of dead game birds. This painting of living butterflies and a moth is therefore uncommon as Ferguson presents creatures that are alive and in a naturalistic setting. No other painting by him of this type has been traced making it a unique example of his work. The butterflies have been identified as a Small Heath, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Small White, and a Painted Lady. The single moth is a Large Yellow Underwing.

  • title: Six Butterflies and a Moth on a Rose Branch
  • accession number: NG 2867
  • artist: William Gouw FergusonScottish (1632 / 33 - after 1695)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • materials: Oil on panel
  • date created: About 1690
  • measurements: 20.50 x 26.00 cm (fd 40 x 46cm HS)
  • credit line: Purchased with a contribution from the Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland, 2013
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

William Gouw Ferguson

William Gouw Ferguson

William Gouw Ferguson worked in the seventeenth century, a time when there were only a handful of native-born Scottish artists. He spent most of his career working abroad and his paintings are often compared to those by contemporary Dutch painters, undoubtedly because of the influential years he spent in Utrecht, The Hague and Amsterdam. He also travelled to Italy, but returned to London in the 1690s.

Related products