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Alexander Marshal, active 1651–died 1682

Flowers in a Delft Jar

Materials & Techniques:
Oil on panel
12 x 16 inches (30.5 x 40.6 cm)

Signed in black paint, lower right: "Alex: Marshal ~"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
black | botanical subject | botany | carnations | delftware | faience | flowers (plants) | insects | jar | leaves | perspective | roses (plant) | science | still life | table | vase
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Alexander Marshal was a leading botanical artist whose work was highly prized by his contemporaries. The famous gardener and collector John Tradescant the Younger treasured a book of the “choicest Flowers and Plants, exquisitely limned in vellum” (ca. 1650) by Marshal. Now lost, the “limnings,” or miniatures (watercolors on vellum), were based on specimens studied in Tradescant’s own garden. The artist’s personal Florilegium (ca. 1680), an exquisite book of flowers and creatures, survives in the Royal Collection. Marshal’s imitation of natural color was so admired that members of the Royal Society invited him to address them on the subject. Pictures in oil by Marshal are comparatively rare, suggesting that he painted for pleasure, not profit. This panel, charming for its detail of “black spot” on the rose leaves, may have once adorned a shelf in a cabinet of curiosities. There, it might have been juxtaposed with botanical specimens and objects of handicraft, such as the imported Delft vase that it depicts.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 154-155, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Mark Laird, A natural history of English gardening, 1650-1800, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 2015, p.108, pl. 97, SB457.6 .L35 2015 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ellis Waterhouse, The Dictionary of 16th & 17th Century British Painters, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1988, p. 187, ND464 W38 1988 (LC) (YCBA) [YCBA]

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