William Scott | The Victoria Art Gallery

William Scott

Image: William Scott, Bottle & Fish Slice

A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £127,200 has helped Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery to acquire an original oil painting from one of the most celebrated members of the Bath Academy of Art. It will be the first William Scott oil painting to enter a public collection in his home county of Somerset.

William Scott RA (1913-89), who lived at Hallatrow and Coleford for most of his working life, taught at the Bath Academy of Art for 10 years as Senior Painting Master during its most influential period while it was in residence at Corsham Court, near Bath.

‘Bottle and Fish Slice’ is an oil painting from 1949/50,  a key date in terms of William Scott's relevance to Bath. It was painted in Scott's studio-cum-home in the village of Hallatrow, 10 miles from Bath, while he was working as Senior Painting Master at the Bath Academy of Art. This period can be seen retrospectively as the Academy's most significant period, acting as the seeding ground of a truly progressive force in the British art world.

Bottle and Fish Slice' is a typical example of Scott's work at this time, when he became obsessed with depicting humble kitchen utensils and food stuffs. These not only echoed his working class upbringing, their simple shapes also aligned with his preference for abstract design. As he painted and market gardened at Hallatrow his reputation grew rapidly, to the point where he was favoured with a visit from the world-famous American abstract painter, Mark Rothko, in 1959.