The glasses and the book in this picture may have a symbolic meaning. Bonvin was interested in Dutch and Flemish 17th-century painting, where still lifes often had a 'vanitas' theme, emphasising the transience and mortality of life.

The work is unusual for being painted on zinc.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1817 - 1887
Full title
Still Life with Book, Papers and Inkwell
Date made
1876
Medium and support
Oil on zinc
Dimensions
36.2 x 48.3 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917
Inventory number
NG3234
Location in Gallery