Garden Still Life, with Implements, Vegetables, Dead Game, and a Bust of Ceres (The Attributes of Hunting and Gardening)
Anne Vallayer-Coster (Paris 1744 - Paris 1818)
Art / Oil paintings
1774 (signed and dated)
Oil on canvas
1524 x 1372 mm (60 x 54 in)
Place of origin
ParisOrder this image
Basildon Park, Berkshire (Accredited Museum)
On show at
This still-life is an outstanding example of the work of French artist Anne Vallayer-Coster. The seemingly incongruous assortment of items in the painting - including gardening tools, vegetables, hunting paraphernalia and game - can be ascribed to the interests of the man who commissioned the work, Joseph-Marie Terray, abbé de Molesme (1715–1778). Terray was a keen gardener who sought, as the Minister of Finance, to encourage the agrarian economy. Vallayer-Coster achieved fame and recognition very early in her career, being admitted to the Académie Royale in 1770, when she was only 26 years old. Her precocious talent, especially in the depiction of flowers, brought her to the attention of the court and to Queen Marie Antoinette in particular.
Oil painting on canvas, Garden Still Life, with Implements, Vegetables, Dead Game, and a Bust of Ceres (The Attributes of Hunting and Gardening) by Anne Vallayer-Coster (Paris 1744 - Paris 1818), signed bottom right: Mlle Vallayer / 1774. A plinth in a park, with a rake and scythe propped up against it; a cardoon, a gourd, a marrow, a melon, a cabbage, a tomato, and a sickle, at the foot of it; and on it, a gun, game-bag, two dead partridges, a hare, and the marble bust of a young woman with ears of corn in her hair, with a chipped base.
Commissioned by Joseph-Marie Terray, abbé de Molesme (1715–1778) when directeur-général des Bâtiments du Roy (July 1773 - August 1774) and contrôleur–général des finances, along with a pendant of A Still Life of a Vase of Flowers, Fruit, and a Bust of Flora, on a Table in an interior (private collection); his posthumous sale, Paris, 20th January 1779, lot 13 (separated from its pendant); sale of the Cournerie collection (which contained a considerable number of works by Vallayer-Coster), Paris, 8th - 9th December 1891; first sale of the collection of F. Doistau, Paris, 9th June 1909, lot 75 (bought by Sortais); anon. sale, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 3rd December 1959, lot 69; Sotheby’s London, 29th November 1961, lot 69; ? Dr James Hasson [author of The Banquet of the Immortals, Edinburgh, 1958], Shenfield Mill; his widow, Mrs James Hasson; Christie’s, London 20th February 1981, lot 91; Sotheby’s, London, 10th December 1986, lot 76, when bought by Lord & Lady Iliffe; accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Basildon Park, 2010.
Basildon Park, The Iliffe Collection (accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust in 2010)
Marks and inscriptions
Verso: on stretcher: Christie’s stencils: XL 697 and BR 641; in white chalk: LOT 76 10 – 12 – 86; XL 697 OMP; 31318 X P NEWMAN; 151600; 336; BIG; in black: 1478; Agnew’s store label, with stock no.: WA 2921
Makers and roles
Anne Vallayer-Coster (Paris 1744 - Paris 1818), artist
Observations sur les Ouvrages exposés au Salon du Louvre, ou Lettre à M. le Comte de …., Paris, 1775, p.20 Seznec and Adhémar 1967 Jean Seznec & Jean Adhémar, Denis Diderot: Salons, vol. 4, Paris, 1967, p.253 Michel 1970 Marianne Roland Michel, Anne Vallayer-Coster, Paris, 1970, cat. no.283, ill.195 Faré 1976 Michel & Fabrice Faré, La vie silencieuse en France: la nature morte au XVIII e siècle, Paris & Fribourg, 1976, fig. 345 Bailey 2002: Colin B. Bailey, Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris, New Haven & London, 2002, pp.83, 91-92, 268 n.74 & fig. 73 'A Still-Life Painter and her Patrons: Collecting Vallayer-Coster, 1770-1789', in Anne Vallayer-Coster (eds. Eik Kahng & Marianne Roland Michel) (exh. cat.), Dallas Museum of Art and other institutions, 2002-3, New Haven and London, no.24, pp.65-66 & 200, and col.pl. p.58 & fig.7, p.65.