John Bulloch Souter (1890 - 1972)

Still Life of Fishing Nets and Floats by a Wall, c.1930

SKU: 11350
Oil on Board, Signed

Height – 40.5cm
Width – 30.5cm


Simon Carter Gallery, 1998

Born in Aberdeen, Souter won the Byrne Travelling Scholarship awarded by the Scottish Education Department which enabled him to comfortably tour the European continent. During this continental tour, he was purportedly much impressed by Diego Velázquez, Johannes Vermeer and Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin. Iconography of the still life is intriguing: the palette is a symphony of graduated earth colours, greens, blues and browns; and the carefully arranged motifs combine to give an surreal feel to the composition. It might be that Souter painted it purely for his own pleasure, as an antidote to painting the Society portraits for which he was much in demand. But equally he might have intended to imbue this still life with a deeper meaning: The Parable of the Fishing Net, in the gospel of Matthew, reveals that a day of judgment is coming when God will separate good from evil.

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John Bulloch Souter
John Bulloch
1890 - 1972

Painter, draughtsman, printmaker and restorer, born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Trained at Gray’s School of Art Aberdeen and the Alan Fraser School of Art, Arbroath. A travelling scholarship allowed to him to work extensively on the continent, where he was especially influenced by Velasquez, Chardin, and Vermeer. During World War I he served as non-combatant in Royal Medical Corps, then married and moved to London. By this time he had established himself as an RA exhibitor, and in the period after the war he made a name as a portrait painter, his subjects including stage personalities such as Ivor Novello, Gladys Cooper and Fay Compton as well as notables in public and academic life. In 1926 Souter’s picture The Breakdown caused a stir at RA, depicting a negro jazz musician, a naked white girl dancer and a broken classic statue. Souter consolidated his reputation with exhibits at the Redfern Gallery, Fine Art Society, RSA and elsewhere. In World War II he worked in the Censorship Department, London, as a translator and restored paintings at Windsor Castle. In 1952 he returned to Aberdeen. His work is in public collections in Edinburgh and Manchester.

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John Bulloch Souter (1890 - 1972)
Still Life of Fishing Nets and Floats by a Wall, c.1930
John Bulloch Souter (1890 - 1972)
Portrait of the Countess of Cranbrook