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Sir Nathaniel Bacon did not paint professionally, although he was a skilled amateur artist. Very few works attributed to him survive, so the appearance of this work on the art market presented the Collection with a rare opportunity for acquisition. Furthermore, the subject matter, a cookmaid surrounded with lavish produce, more usually associated with Dutch and Flemish art, is highly unusual in England for the period and associated only with Bacon. Every item depicted is known to have been growing in England: Bacon himself grew melons on his Suffolk estate.

August 2000