Artist: Samuel John Peploe

Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
Place of Death:
Residence in Dumfries & Galloway:

Visited Kirkcudbright several times also visited New Abbey.


Trustees Academy, Edinburgh; Royal Scottish Academy life classes; Academie Julien and Colarossi, Paris.

Professional Bodies:

ARSA, 1918, RSA, 1927

Exhibited At:

Royal Scottish Academy; Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts; Aberdeen Artists’ Society


Robert Brough and R C Robertson, J D Fergusson and Anne Estelle Rice, FCB Cadell Jessie M King and E A Taylor in Paris and later in Kirkcudbright also Joseph Simpson


The Scottish Colourists: Cadell, Fergusson, Hunter and Peploe, Roger Billcliffe, John Murray, 1989. Peploe: an intimate memoir of an artist and his work, Stanley Cursiter, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1947. Kirkcudbright: one hundred years of an artists’ colony, Patrick Bourne, Atelier Books, Edinburgh, 2000. A History of Scottish Art, Bill Smith and Selina Skipwith, Merrell, London, 2003.The Scottish Colourists 1900-1930, Philip Long, NGS, 2000. Kirkcudbright c1919 illustrated in Long, plate 12.  S J Peploe 1871-1935, Guy Peploe, Edinburgh 2000.  The book contains a number of letters from Kirkcudbright in the spring of 1931 , in which he is very complimentary about Jessie King’s cooking, not very complimentary about some of the local artists and dismissive of the just published Five Red Herrings “What a silly, dull book- full of padding.” Tales of the Kirkcudbright Artists, Haig Gordon, Kirkcudbright, 2006

Image, photograph of the artist by kind permission of Guy Peploe. The photograph was taken about 1920.  Peploe painted a number of works in Galloway about this time.


His father having died when he was 13, he entered the legal firm of Scott and Glover. John Glover was the brother of R S Glover, Gatehouse, lawyer to the Faeds. 1915 and 1917 Peploe in Kirkcudbright. (Long) Stayed at Greengate? Had met the Taylors in France. Also friend of Joseph Simpson. Painted at New Abbey 1925. Painted in Dumfriesshire 1928. Painted in Kirkcudbright 1931. Evening, Kirkcudbright, illustrated in Bourne p90; A Summer’s Day, Kirkcudbright p91; Kirkcudbright p98 (see bibliography). Kirkcudbright c1919 illustrated in Smith and Skipwith p124, oil on canvas 53.3 by 63.5 cms (see bibliography).  His Trees at Douglas Hall sold for £78000 at Christies South Kensington, sale 5306 lot 0087, 16 04 2008.

S J Peploe was born in Edinburgh in 1871.  On leaving school he entered the law firm of Scott and Glover but his heart was not in the law and he began art classes.  His art education included time at the Trustees Academy, study in Paris and back in Edinburgh at the Royal Scottish Academy Life Class.

It was in 1904 that he first began annual visits to France with his friend J D Ferguson and in 1910 and 1911 he was in Paris, where his circle of friends included Jessie M King and E A Taylor.  In 1913 he first experienced the bright colours of the Mediterranean on a visit to Cassis.

Peploe had an open invitation to visit the Taylors in Kirkcudbright after they settled there in 1915 and the south-west was to be a very productive painting ground over the next few years. Kirkcudbright works can be seen in The Tolbooth Art Centre in Kirkcudbright itself and many other galleries. As his grandson Guy Peploe has written “The stolid geometry of Kirkcudbright, its tolbooth, castle and harbour, provided inspiration and the type of subject-matter which lent itself well to the geometrical analysis which was still the artist’s dominant concern.  These works are also some of the last where colour is pushed beyond naturalism onto the territory of fauvism.”

Peploe was back in Kirkcudbright again in 1917 and it was that year that he was over near Dalbeattie painting Laggan Farm Buildings and Cornfield, Douglas Hall with its echo of Cézanne. Like many others Peploe was persuaded to take part in Jessie’s historical pageants in Kirkcudbright.  A photograph survives of him dressed as the Pied Piper.

In 1926 Peploe stayed at the Commercial Inn, New Abbey and was in New Abbey again  in 1928 where he painted his Sweetheart Abbey, now in Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery  A  painting Paysage, exhibited in Paris in 1931 and purchased by the French state was probably painted in the woods at Shambellie, New Abbey, the home of Ted Stewart, Cadell’s friend and lawyer.

Peploe’s last visit to Kirkcudbright was in the late spring of 1931, when he stayed at the Selkirk Arms.  In letters to his wife he delights in the hospitality of the Taylors, shows his reserve towards other local artists and tries to read the newly published The Five Red Herrings of which he says: “What a silly, dull book-full of padding.”

For  a brief period at the end of his life Peploe taught at Edinburgh College of Art but his health was deteriorating and he died aged 64 in 1935.  In the foreword to his memorial exhibition E A Taylor wrote; “Never have I known a man more true to himself, his home, his friends and his inspiration – all attributes which make memory of him lasting and his art enduring.”