Technique and condition
The paint used was oil, probably Rowney's Student grade oil paints and thinned in areas with turpentine. A small amount of resin was possibly added to the dark paint in the centre of the large red flower to achieve the sharp impasto, although the artist does not recall mixing anything into her paints and thinks this more likely to have been paint straight from the tube. The paint is vehicular, fairly lean, matt and mostly opaque, although there is some glazing (mainly in deep shadows of the flower and fruit). The application technique varies from rather thin washes used in the background to areas of reasonable impasto in the details of the horse, flowers, fruit and curtains. All areas have been applied with a fairly narrow brush and mainly wet-on-dry. In addition, the wooden end of the brush has been used in the net curtains to scrape back through the (then) freshly applied paint.
The painting was varnished by the artist after it had been fixed into its frame with a very thin coating of a retouching varnish. Fedden recalls doing this a few weeks after the painting's completion. It was carried out primarily to even up the dull and glossy areas. Although not discoloured appreciably, it had differentially sunk, especially in the areas where there is no paint, and looked rather streaky. With the artist's approval, the varnish was therefore recently removed and a thin layer of a more stable varnish was re-applied to achieve a more uniform surface, which was felt to be more characteristic of the work's original appearance.
The frame is possibly original to the work and is a simple design, made of plain hardwood with a gold insert. The painting is in generally good condition. There are only a few losses in the paint layers, probably caused by mechanical abrasion, although in most cases these are behind the frame rebate and not visible when the painting is framed.