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Marie Blancour, A Bowl of Flowers

Key facts
Full title A Bowl of Flowers
Artist Marie Blancour
Artist dates active Seventeenth century
Date made 1650s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 65.5 × 51.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Capt. E.G. Spencer-Churchill, 1964
Inventory number NG6358
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Bowl of Flowers
Marie Blancour

This signed painting is the only known work by Marie Blancour, a French woman who is thought to have lived during the seventeenth century.

A bunch of flowers is crammed into a terracotta pot. Many are in the final stages of bloom: the daffodil’s yellow petals are fully open and the weighty white viburnum heads droop at the bottom left. Our eye is led deeper into the picture by the large red poppy head facing away from us and the viburnum head at the lower left, which is partly in shadow to suggest that it’s further away than the one in the light. Red and white tulips were popular during the seventeenth century and found in the work of Dutch and Flemish artists, which Blancour must surely have seen.

Not all of these flowers bloom at the same time, so Blancour worked from individual studies made throughout the year in order to create this fictional arrangement.

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