Scott was born near Glasgow, but grew up in Northern Ireland and attended Belfast School of Art from 1928 - 1931. He admired the simple, direct painting of the artist Alfred Wallis who he met in St. Ives. His first encounter with the work of Cezanne and Braque during a visit to France, inspired him to experiment with still life composition. Here, the still life group is pared down to essentials and presented as an arrangement of basic outlines and vibrant colours. The objects he used were of little importance in themselves. He wrote:
' I think these things are completely uninteresting. That is why I paint them. They convey nothing. There is no meaning to them at all, but they are a means of making a picture.'