Rubens Peale didn’t begin to paint until he was seventy-one. But the many still-life pictures he created during his last decade reflect both the compositions created by his uncle James and his brother Raphaelle and his own identity as a dedicated gardener, amateur botanist, and farmer.
Rubens worked on the preparation and presentation of botanical specimens in his family’s Philadelphia Museum and created gardens at Belfield, the Germantown farm owned by his father, Charles Willson Peale. Both these activities were preludes to working his own farm in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, where the flowers in this painting were grown.
Painted over the span of a year, these flowers represent the bounty of different seasons. Rubens often gave his pictures as gifts, and the center medallion on the bowl in this work is inscribed "RP to CWP, 1856," marking it as a gift to his son Charles Willson Peale, named after Rubens’s father.
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