Still Life, London


Still life. Two spherical orange shapes and a diagonal streak of blue mid left to upper right.  Irregular shape of magenta at left abuts the broken diagonal edge of the white area. An irregular ochre area at top of painting. Lower right two small red shapes.

Other title(s)
Still Life with Oranges
c. 1970
Object type
Medium and materials
oil on canvas
Place Made
London, England

Verso yellow gallery label pencil 1973 FS


Donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand by H. F. V. Scales, 1979

Condition Report

Unstretched and unframed canvas. Pinholes evident upper corners of canvas.

Copyright Licence
Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Reference no. A-262-028
Current Collection

Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand

Current Location

Wellington, New Zealand

General notes

First title and provisional date supplied by the artist for Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand, exhibition, Helen F V Scales, 1975-1976. Listed as artwork no. 42 in this exhibition.

Second title and date supplied by artist at time of donation, 1979.

Scales was in New Zealand from July 1972 until late 1976, making the date c1970 more likely.

Alexander Turnbull Library documentation notes, “The blue streak across the centre is the knife the artist used to peel her oranges”. Information supplied by the artist at time of donation, 1979.


‘Somebody and Somebody and Somebody Else’s Elbow: Three versions of a relationship’ by Ruth Buchanan, written for florascales.com, 2022

“The edge of a table, on it, sit two oranges
Nestling into the inner sun
A glow”

‘Becoming Modern: The paintings of Flora Scales’ by Jennifer Higgie, written for florascales.com, 2022

"For Scales, like so many avant-garde artists of the 20th century, the studio was a laboratory: a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers, far more than the sum of their parts, were objects to experiment with. Around 1970, in her mid-80s, she painted one of her most extraordinary works, Still Life with Oranges [Still Life, London [1] [BC067]]. It’s a picture that’s as fresh today as the day she created it: the fruit seems to float, unconstrained, across a riotously colourful ground: a rough crimson triangle, smears of green below a blazing yellow and ochre sky."

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