About this artwork

William MacTaggart enjoyed a long career as an artist, exhibiting regularly from 1920. In the 1950s he began painting a series of still lifes framed by windows. These have been compared to the work of the French painter Edouard Vuillard in their evocation of a privileged, enclosed space. In this painting from around 1962 a vase of poppies is framed by a window, through which can be seen a row of houses in Edinburgh’s New Town, opposite MacTaggart’s studio. The painting is not only a still life but a study in mood and tone, the rich, deep blues of the night sky balancing the colourful and exuberantly painted flowers.

  • title: Poppies against the Night Sky
  • accession number: GMA 1046
  • artist: Sir William MacTaggartScottish (1903 - 1981)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Flowers
  • date created: About 1962
  • measurements: 76.20 x 63.50 cm
  • credit line: Scott Hay Collection: presented 1967
  • copyright: © FAMILY OF THE ARTIST

Sir William MacTaggart

Sir William MacTaggart

Born in Loanhead, Midlothian, MacTaggart was the grandson of the artist William McTaggart, the leading Scottish landscape painter of his period. MacTaggart studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1918 to 1921, returning there in 1933 to teach until 1958. He painted landscapes and still lifes and was much influenced by the work of Edvard Munch and French artists such as Georges Rouault, whose use of colour to express emotions particularly inspired him. MacTaggart was President of the Royal Scottish Academy from 1959 to 1964.