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The Full Basket

ca. 1825
Origin: America, New England or Mid-Atlantic
Overall: 12 3/4 x 14 1/2in. (32.4 x 36.8cm) Framed: 14 3/4 x 16 1/4in. (37.5 x 41.3cm)
Paint on cotton velvet
Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Acc. No. 1931.403.11
Still life painting of stenciled fruits in a basket resting on a bright green patch of paint (to indicate a cloth), against a white background. The basket is a rust brown in color, with diamonds of color to indicate weave, and the base and lip are wrapped with diagonal lines. The handles, one on either side are slender with scroll turned ends. A large bunch of grapes with grape leaves behind it is on the left side of the basket; peaches and pears, including one pale green peach afre in the middle, with a large melon wedged in behind, with strawberries, plums, white grapes and other smaller berries to the right side. Fruits clearly outlined from stencils used in creating them.
Label:A large number of stencil paintings use The Full Basket pattern, including six examples in Colonial Williamsburg’s collection. The only known signed example is the piece by Eliza Ann Parker of Southborough, Massachusetts. The inclusion of her hometown with her signature gives The Full Basket group its geographical attribution of Massachusetts. Born in Southborough in 1804, Eliza completed the theorem the same year she married Dr. Adolphus Brigham of Shrewsberry, Massachusetts.

While some scholars suggest that all of these paintings may have been products of the same ladies’ academy in or near Southborough, Massachusetts, it is also possible that the stencils were made by a single source and then sold through retail stores or women’s magazines. Often mass-produced stencils accompanied a widely circulated instruction book, thereby eliminating the need for a drawing teacher. This trend led to a rise in theorems as a home craft rather than merely a school girl assignment.

Provenance:Found in Marblehead, Massachusetts by Edith Gregor Halpert, Downtown Gallery, New York, N.Y.