About this artwork

Although apparently a straightforward ‘trompe l’oeil’ (illusionist) still-life, an inscription on the back of this picture claims that it has a symbolic message. The note reads "2 Royalist Allegorical Pictures/Explanation in the Keeping of the/family". This explanation having been lost, the precise meaning of the picture has defied convincing interpretation. In its general composition the painting evokes the still-life paintings of the seventeenth century Netherlandish artist Edwaert Colyer. This is Warrender’s only known easel painting.

  • title: Still-life
  • accession number: NG 2404
  • artist: Thomas WarrenderScottish (1662 - died c 1715)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: Unknown
  • measurements: 59.10 x 74.30 cm (framed: 71.00 x 87.10 x 7.50 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1980
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Thomas Warrender

Thomas Warrender

Thomas Warrender was born in January 1662 in Haddington, East Lothian. In 1673 he was apprenticed to John Tait, whose work does not survive. Warrender became a burgess (freeman) of Haddington and also of Edinburgh where he was admitted as a guild brother in 1692. In the late 1690s he was working as a decorative painter at Hamilton Palace, and continued to work on decorative interiors for patrons in and around Edinburgh. These included Craigie Hall and Hopetoun House. After 1710 his son John continued the family business.

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