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Basket of Fruit

ca. 1825
Origin: America, Massachusetts, Lee
Overall (Framed): 13 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1in. (34.3 x 41.9 x 2.5cm)
Paint on velvet
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958.403.1
Label:The expert shading of leaves and fruit gives this composition a strong three-dimensional quality often lacking in less skillfully done theorems. Mary Bradley had mastered the use of her stencils, as indicated by the crisp edges of the leaves and the well-defined forms of the cherries. The sharp outlines of the fruit and basket are accentuated by depressions in the velvet, as if Bradley had traced the edges of some of the shapes with a sharp tool. Bradley’s proficiency with a pen is also exhibited by the abundant grapevine tendrils, which were executed freehand, as well as her calligraphic signature.

Town records from Lee, Massachusetts, include two Mary Bradleys, either of whom could have been the artist of this piece. What makes these two Marys more indistinguishable is that they are second cousins born less than a year apart.
Provenance:J. Stuart Halladay and Herrel George Thomas, Sheffield, Mass. Halladay died in 1951, leaving his interest in their jointly-owned collection to his partner, Thomas. Thomas died in 1957, leaving his estate to his sister, Mrs. Albert N. Petterson, who was AARFAM's vendor.