Pears pots and frying pans – William Scott at the Hepworth

William Scott

We went over to the Hepworth in Wakefield last Saturday. There’s been quite a few changes since our last visit on New Year’s Day with new exhibitions of works by Barbara Hepworth, Haroon Mirrza and William Scott.

The Scott exhibition marks the centenary of his birth and was first shown at Tate St Ives; it will travel on to the Ulster Museum in Belfast when it finishes at the Hepworth.  The exhibition is meant to “evolves” as it transfers between the galleries, so I imaging there have been some changes at the Hepworth compared to the Tate show.

It’s a comprehensive exhibition, covering the whole of his career. his early work was figurative but he soon began to concentrate on predominantly abstract paintings.  As with most temporary exhibitions, photography wasn’t allowed, but there are some examples of the works on show here and here.

And this video, from the Tate, which was produced while the exhibition was being shown at their gallery in St Ives, discusses his work and includes some of the pictures on display

William Scott, ‘Seated Nude’ 1939

Seated Nude 1939

Although he could turn his hand to subjects such as nudes (early in his career, particularly, the above example shown in the exhibition featured his wife) and landscapes, many of his paintings were still lives of fruit (he particularly seemed to like painting pears), fish and pots and pans. And frying pans were a dominant feature in many of his works. He is noted for commenting that “if the guitar was to Braque his Madonna, the frying pan could be my guitar.” In early paintings they were relatively realistic, but over time they became more and mrore abstract, eventually being reduced to a simple motif like in this painting, which was one of my favourites from those included in the exhibition.


Still Life with Orange Note, 1970

I also liked this pure abstract painting

William Scott, ‘Berlin Blues 4’ 1965

Berlin Blues 4 1965 (Source: Tate website)

As the name implies it was one of a series he painted during his time in Berlin in 1963-4. He chose the title, not because he was feeling depressed living in the city, but because it was started in Berlin and he discovered the particular blue pigment he used for while he was there.

I thought it was an excellent exhibition and will definitely replay a repeat visit, so we’ll be driving over the Pennines again before the end of September.


(I enjoyed reading this review of the exhibition by Andy Parkinson of “Patterns that Connect”)

4 thoughts on “Pears pots and frying pans – William Scott at the Hepworth

    • Thanks Mari. I’d only seen a few of his paintings before this and really learned a lot about his work from the exhibition. Well worth a visit if you get the chance.

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