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Nathaniel Bacon did not paint professionally, although he was a skilled amateur artist. The subject matter of this picture, a cookmaid surrounded with lavish produce, is more usually associated with Dutch and Flemish art. It is highly unusual in England for the period and associated only with Bacon, who may have been influenced by pictures of this type during his travels in the Low Countries. Every item depicted is known to have been growing in England. Bacon himself was a keen gardener and grew melons successfully on his Suffolk estate.

February 2016