About this artwork

Created on the spot during Peploe’s working trip to the island of Barra in 1903, this diminutive painting encapsulates Peploe’s desire to depict the essence of a scene before him. In this case he has achieved the seemingly impossible recording of waves falling against rocks amidst a choppy sea. Working on a smal scale and applying un-mixed paint with little forethought, the energy of the artist’s technique and that of the water in front of him come together to create a vigorous image which verges on the abstract.

  • title: Rocks at Barra
  • accession number: GMA 1935
  • artist: Samuel John PeploeScottish (1871 - 1935)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Scottish Colourists
  • medium: Oil on board
  • date created: 1903
  • measurements: 16.40 x 24.00 cm (framed: 36.30 x 45.80 x 3.00 cm)
  • credit line: Bequeathed by Dr R.A. Lillie 1977
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Samuel John Peploe

Samuel John Peploe

Peploe is one of the group of four artists known as the 'Scottish Colourists.' Born in Edinburgh, he studied art in Paris and lived there from 1910 to 1912. It was through painting holidays in Northern France that he was introduced to the use of bold colour, inspired by the bright sunlight. He later experienced the same intensity of light while painting on the island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland. French painting proved to be a powerful influence for Peploe throughout his life. Although his work never became abstract, it was characterised by tight composition, strong colour and assured handling.