About this artwork
Succulent grapes, crumbling cheese, sparkling wine in elegant glasses, and cognac in tumblers are depicted in this opulent dessert picture by John Francis. Originally an itinerant portrait painter, Francis turned to still life in the mid-19th century when the availability of daguerreotype portraits rendered his trade obsolete. The penchant for household embellishment among the Victorian middle class created a lively market for still-life paintings, which were often hung in dining rooms. While spirits are featured prominently in this painting, the glasses that are less than half full and the presence of the water indicate balance and restraint, referring to the mid-century growth of the temperance movement, which promoted the ideals of moderation and self-control.
- John F. Francis
- Wine, Cheese, and Fruit
- Oil on canvas
- Signed, lower right: "J. F. Francis/ Pt. 1857"
- 63.5 × 76.2 cm (25 × 30 in.)
- Purchased with funds provided by Charles C. Haffner III and Mrs. Herbert Alexander Vance; Wesley M. Dixon Jr., Fund