John ('Jack') Knox

West Highland Way (1982)

About this artwork

The title of this large canvas refers to the long-distance footpath, which opened in 1980 and runs from Milngavie to the north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Highlands. It was painted shortly after Knox moved back to the west of Scotland in 1981 on his appointment as Head of Drawing and Painting at Glasgow School of Art. Knox uses contrasting colours to create a vibrant image of the autumnal Scottish landscape, with rolling orange hills and bright blue sky. There is a hint of humour in his depiction of a quail in the foreground, drinking from a stream directly in front of a spiky evergreen bush. The quail’s feathers, normally the perfect tone for hiding on the hillside during the hunting season, no longer offer camouflage - it is now a prime target.

  • title: West Highland Way
  • accession number: GMA 3009
  • artist: John ('Jack') KnoxScottish (1936 - 2015)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Travel
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1982
  • measurements: 152.50 x 182.50 cm (framed: 154.00 x 184.30 x 3.50 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1987
  • copyright: © THE ARTIST
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

John ('Jack') Knox

John ('Jack') Knox

A skilled draughtsman who has produced a varied body of work, Knox is known for his sensuous use of colour. In the mid 1960s, he produced his Studio series of canvases using mixed media and ‘stream of consciousness’ imagery. These were followed by square white canvases covered with symbols. However, it was a visit to a Dutch museum that motivated Knox’s subsequent change of artistic direction to produce lusciously coloured images of food. It was the combination of seeing Dutch still life painting and noticing the way that the food in the cafeteria was presented as if framed and on display that provided the inspiration. Knox was born in Kirkintilloch and studied at Glasgow School of Art, where he later became Head of Drawing and Painting.