T00360 DUET 1958
Inscr. ‘W. MacTaggart '58’ b.c.
Oil on two pieces of millboard laid on hardboard, 24×39 3/4 (61×101).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1960.
Exh: R.S.A., 1959 (139); Aberdeen Artists' Society, October–December 1959 (280); R.A., 1960 (204).
The painting consists of two flower studies on separate pieces of millboard joined together to make a single work of art. The artist has written (letter of 8 September 1960): 'I have done several paintings of this type where I felt the theme had a certain unity, such as “Morning, Noon and Night”, and another motif was “Fruit and Flowers”. In these paintings, which were all considered as a unity, I painted them on separate panels with an astragal between, and I intended to do the same with my “Duet”, but decided after it was painted that the projection of the astragal did not suit the composition, so I butted them together, and I am convinced that was the best solution.
'The theme of my “Duet” is one which has interested me very much recently. I like to relate close-up objects, such as fruit and flowers, to a landscape background, and to do this I generally use the view from my studio window as a starting point. My studio looks out on to a fine old Edinburgh square with trees and houses beyond, and a church tower. I use the symbols of this material very freely to compose a great many of my paintings.
‘ “Duet” had another theme which interested me at the time and that was to juxtapose a warm panel with a cool one, the warm panel having notes of cool colour and the cooler panel echoing and repeating some of the warm colour from its neighbour.’
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II