Craigie Aitchison 1926-2009


With Beaux Arts Gallery, London
With Rutland Gallery, London
Private Collection


1960, London, Beaux Arts Gallery, Craigie Aitchison, 22 Nov. - 20 Dec. 1960, cat. no. 10
1964, London, Beaux Arts Gallery, Craigie Aitchison, Jan. - Feb. 1964, cat. no. 16
2019, London, Piano Nobile, Craigie Aitchison and the Beaux Arts Generation, 14 Nov. 2019 - 29 Jan. 2020, cat. no. 8


Andrew Gibbon Williams, Craigie: The Art of Craigie Aitchison, 1996, Canongate Books, pp. 68 and 170, pl. 29 (col. illus.)
Cate Haste, Craigie Aitchison: A Life in Colour, 2014, Lund Humphries, pp. 80-1, pl. 67 (col. illus.)
Susan Campbell, Craigie Aitchison and the Beaux Arts Generation, 2019, Piano Nobile Publications, cat. no. 8, pp. 56-57 (col. illus.)
There is a classical restraint of both execution and subject-matter in Aitchison’s still-life paintings of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The characteristic thinness of the paint surface and the use of ceramics and other decorative household items contrasts with the more playful, technicolour qualities of later still lifes. Candlestick Still-life is executed in the fine pastel shades of yellow apparent in comparable works of the period such as Crocuses (cat. WHAT) and Japanese Tin Still-life (1964, Private Collection). The daffodils or narcissi here suggest the mood of early spring. A decorative pattern of flowers and leaves is just visible over the edge of the green table-top; these belong to the yellow screen that Aitchison used as a backdrop to the composition.

This work was first exhibited at the Beaux Arts Gallery in Aitchison’s solo exhibition in 1960, and then again in 1964. A spurious Rutland Gallery label is affixed to the reverse of the frame, giving a different title (Still Life No. 3) and incorrect date (1973) and measurements (16 x 14 inches) – this relates to another unspecified work catalogued in the Rutland Gallery exhibition of Aitchison’s work held in 1975.