About this artwork

Waitt’s still life is remarkable for its boldness and clarity. The produce arranged on a wooden table-top or counter stands out against the dark background. Its realistic appearance is enhanced by the play of light and shadow and the projection of some vegetables and meat over the table edge. The fly on the leg of lamb adds to the illusion of reality. It is tempting to try and brush this away, falling for the artist’s visual joke. Waitt, inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch still lifes, painted this work for a wealthy patron, who could have afforded such produce, including the more expensive wheaten, rather than rye, bread.

Richard Waitt

Richard Waitt

Waitt specialised in portraiture, but began his career as a decorative painter. His first recorded work is a coat of arms for the Earl of Hopetoun. He may have trained in the Edinburgh studio of the painter John Scougal and seems to have produced several different types of painting, notably still life. He married into a family with Jacobite sympathies and possibly left the country, temporarily, after the 1715 Jacobite Rising. He must have returned by 1722, however, when he resumed work for the Clan Grant based in Castle Grant, Strathspey. Waitt's series of portraits formed a unique clan gallery.