Eleanor Brace, Autumnal Still Life With Chrysanthemums & Fruit

Eleanor Brace, Autumnal Still Life With Chrysanthemums & Fruit

This late 19th-century still life by British artist Eleanor Brace (1839-1920) depicts an abundant display of chrysanthemums and fruit set upon a table. It’s rendered with keen attention to detail and a good eye for colour.

Standing proudly, the chrysanths emerge from an attractive vase decorated with complementary flora. Their rich tones adding a sense of romance to the ensemble. The fruit includes grapes, pumpkin, peaches, pears and medlars (over on the right). If you’re not familiar with medlars they’re an interesting overlooked Autumnal fruit, which the Victorians grew particularly fond of. They’re also referred to in various Shakespearean plays including Romeo and Juliet for rather intimate reasons.

In Act 2 Scene 1, Mercutio remarks:

If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.
Now will he sit under a medlar tree
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars when they laugh alone.

You may wish to Google the rest.

Do you think Brace was aware of the symbolism? If she did, it was quite cheeky of her to include them.

Eleanor Brace was an accomplished regional artist that worked predominantly in the Brighton and Hove area. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the press remarked favourably on her ‘delicacy of tint and touch’ and her colouring being ‘especially praiseworthy’. In 1891, her work ‘A quiet corner, Westminster Abbey’ was shown at the Royal Academy and she’s also recorded as winning a National Bronze Medal. She died a spinster having remained unmarried.

Signed/dated lower right and held within a coved frame with gilt inner border and velvet outer.

Learn more about Eleanor Brace in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 35½” x 27½” / 90cm x 70cm
Year of creation: c. 1880
Condition: Artwork presents well. Minor craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.

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