John Sherrin, 'Branch of Plums and an Apple', watercolour, about 1850-1870. Museum no. 1175-1886
John Sherrin (1819-1896)
'Branch of Plums and an Apple'
Museum number 1175-1886
Still-life, the depiction of flowers, fruit, vegetables, animals and household objects, became a popular subject for watercolour artists in the 19th century. Still-lifes appealed to patrons for the simplicity of their subject matter, and were admired above all for the skill of the artist.
This watercolour by John Sherrin invites us to view it closely, to wonder at the fineness of the brushwork rather than stepping back to admire an overall concept and composition. Mounted and framed in gold, this image is amazingly vibrant and would have complimented and enhanced the rich, cluttered style of a Victorian interior.
Robert C. Hulme, 'Lemon and Apple', oil painting, about 1862-1876. Museum no. 5928S
Robert C. Hulme
'Lemon and Apple'
Oil on millboard
Museum no. 5928S
Still-life, the depiction of flowers, fruit, vegetables, animals and household objects, became a popular subjects for artists in the 19th century. Many artists specialised in still life but for others it was simply part of a repertoire of subjects by which an artist could make a living.
Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, 'Apple' (Malus pumila Millervar), watercolour, 1568-1572. Museum no. AM.3267Y-1856
Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (about 1533-1588)
Apple (Malus pumila Millervar)
Watercolour and body colour on paper
Museum no. AM.3267Y-1856
This is one of fifty nine watercolours of fruit and flowers that the French artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues painted on thirty three sheets. We do not know exactly when he painted them, but there are some clues. The watermark in the paper is the same as that used in Paris and Arras in 1568, and the binding is French. It therefore seems likely that they date from the period between 1568 and 1572. This is when Le Moyne fled to England with other Huguenots (French Protestants) to escape religious persecution in France.
The watercolours were originally in a fine tooled-leather binding dating to the late 16th century. Curators identified the watercolours as the work of Le Moyne in 1922. They removed them from the binding and mounted them individually. (The binding is in the collection of the National Art Library at the V&A.)
In the 16th century botanical illustrators revived the practice of working from real plants rather than copying from earlier painted or printed images. Here the degree of naturalistic detail, including leaves which have been damaged by insects, suggests that Le Moyne was studying a living specimen rather than using an existing illustration as his source.
Charles Jones, 'Page of photographs of apples from an album', photograph, about 1901-1920. Museum no. E.392:282-290-2005
Charles Jones (1866-1959)
'Page of photographs of apples from an album'
Photograph, gelatin-silver print
Museum no. E.392:282-290-2005
Charles Harry Jones was a professional gardener and an amateur photographer. He made studies of fruit as well as images of the private estate, Ote Hall in Sussex, where he worked during the 1890s. He also photographed exciting events, discoveries and inventions, such as a local train crash, snake eggs and a vacuum cleaner.
Today Jones is known for his botanical images. His photographs of apples posed against a neutral background to capture each specimen's individuality, show his deep understanding of their plain beauty, brought about by tending them daily. The photographs are now recognised for their simple appeal and their proto-modernist look
Beatrix Potter, 'Still life of apples', watecolour, October 1880. Museum no. LB.89 © Frederick Warne & Co. 2007
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)
'Still life of apples'
Museum no. LB.89
© Frederick Warne & Co. 2007
This watercolour by Beatrix Potter, painted when she was fourteen, is typical of the formal still lifes produced under the direction of her art teacher, Miss Cameron. Miss Cameron taught Beatrix from November 1876 to May 1883. When she finished her lessons with Miss Cameron she wrote in her journal: 'Painting is an awkward thing to teach except the details of the medium. If you and your master are determined to look at nature and art in two different directions you are sure to stick.'
Henry Fletcher, 'Robert Furber's Catalogue of Fruits', 1732, engraving, National Art Library pressmark PC 9/5
Henry Fletcher (worked about 1715 to about 1738) after designs by Pieter Casteels (1684-1749)
'Robert Furber's Catalogue of Fruits'
National Art Library pressmark PC 9/5
This is one of a set of engravings representing the months, each in the form of a bowl of fruit in an ornamental dish. Peter Casteels, a Flemish painter of fruit and flower pieces, produced the original painted versions for Robert Furber, a nurseryman and gardener of Kensington, London.
The image is lettered with the name of the month and a numerical and alphabetical key to the fruits depicted such as apple varieties including Barnett, Kentish Pearmain, Old Wife, Yellow Pippin and Mashes John.