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Fruit and Flowers
Paulus Theodorus van Brussel

Paulus Theodorus van Brussel’s arrangement of fruit and flowers reveals the eighteenth-century taste for paintings depicting the exotic and expensive set in artful disarray against the faint background of a garden. It’s a celebration of the bounty of nature and is, at the same time, an appealing way of showing prize specimens. It also demonstrates his skill in painting texture.

He has included poppies, hollyhocks and celosia, but the flowers – not as rare and pricey as they had been a century before the picture was painted – seem to take second place to the abundant fruits. These are mostly hothouse grown, and therefore costly: melons, black and translucent green grapes, peaches and a pineapple with its spiky crown at the top of the arrangement, almost seeming to float in space. Among them, busy insects – interesting specimens themselves – investigate the oozing juices, crisp leaves and fragrant petals.

Key facts
Artist Paulus Theodorus van Brussel
Artist dates 1754 - 1795
Full title Fruit and Flowers
Date made 1789
Medium and support Oil on mahogany
Dimensions 78.4 x 61 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Frederick John Nettlefold, 1947
Inventory number NG5800
Location in Gallery Not on display
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