Sir Nathaniel BaconCookmaid with Still Life of Vegetables and Fruit c.1620-5

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Artwork details

Artist
Sir Nathaniel Bacon (1585‑1627)
Title
Cookmaid with Still Life of Vegetables and Fruit
Date c.1620-5
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionsunconfirmed: 1510 x 2475 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund 1995
Reference
T06995
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1540

Summary

'Cookmaid' and market scenes, popular in the seventeenth century, evolved in the Low Countries from a genre practised by Pieter Aertsen (c.1533-c.1573) and his pupil Joachim Beuckalaer, which combined contemporary kitchen scenes with a New Testament episode beyond. Bacon could have seen such works on a visit he made to the Low Countries in 1613.

An inventory of 1659 connected to the will of the artist's wife lists 'Ten Great peeces in Wainscote of fish and fowle &c done by S:r Nath: Bacon' (quoted in Gervase Jackson-Stops, ed., The Treasure Houses of Britain, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 1985, p.140). Two other 'Cookmaid' pictures are known to exist: Cookmaid with Still Life of Game and Cookmaid with Still Life of Birds, both in the possession of the artist's descendants. The Tate's work is possibly part of this group. Such groups were often intended to depict the four seasons or the twelve months of the year. In the case of this piece, however, although every item represented in the painting was grown in England at the time, not all would have been in season simultaneously. Bacon, according to a letter dated 19 June [1626], was growing melons at his estate in East Anglia, and he was known to have a keen interest in horticulture. The subject would most likely have had erotic connotations. The abundance of ripe melons surrounding the cookmaid echo her voluptuous cleavage… (read more)

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Category

Painting (5,306)

Decade

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architecture (30,430)
features (7,252)
door (348)
interiors (2,404)
domestic (1,245)
kitchen (42)
nature (37,443)
landscape (24,053)
wooded (8,571)
people (21,175)
adults (19,618)
woman (7,617)
body (2,879)
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work and occupations (5,203)
domestic (438)
maid (36)