Artist: Gillies, William George, Sir, CBE RA RSA PPRSW · 1898-1973

One of Gillies largest and most complex paintings.

Gillies paints himself full length wearing a tie and jacket, palette in hand, and with a large canvas on an A-frame easel behind him, in the central section of the triptych. Does he occupy an unrealistically narrow room or is this a reflection in a dressing mirror?

At left is the almost translucent seated figure of the artist's mother, against a background revealing aspects of the interior of the lounge a the family's home at 162 Willowbrae Road, Edinburgh.

The right hand section is bedroom with a pink fireplace, framed pictures on the wall and the corner of the bed visible at bottom right. On a rug before the fireplace stands the figure of a young woman with long light hair which she is attending to, and wearing a plain white nightgown.

Speaking of this work in a film made to accompany the major retrospective exhibition of his work in 1970, Gillies commented; "'This picture is of the interior of our house at Willowbrae Road, seen from the hallway and looking into the sitting room and the living room. I had inserted a mirror in the narrow space between the doors; hence my own presence. It was actually painted in my Frederick Street studio from a great many notes and drawings. It is really a homage to Bonnard, and I’m very fond of it myself, mainly for nostalgic reasons but I do like its colour harmonies."

The RSA Collections contain several preparatory studies for the present work, including Gillies' own self-portrait, studies fort he figure of his mother, and a drawing of the actual rooms sketched from the adjoining doorway.

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