Lance began his career as a pupil of the history painter Haydon, but soon devoted himself almost exclusively to still life painting, becoming the leading British artist in this line. He modelled himself on seventeenth and eighteenth-century Dutch and Flemish painters like Jan van Huysum (1682-1749) and Jan van Os (1744-1808), but his art was underpinned by an almost obsessive study of the natural world: by 1847 he had gone through no less than three courses of anatomical dissection. He enjoyed the highest patronage, and painted the prize fruit and other horticultural produce of great houses like Woburn and Blenheim.
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