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Studio Of Philip Mercier, 1689-1760 the Fair Oyster Girl


£7,500 | $9,986 USD | €8,498 EUR
Item Number: SA712866
Date of manufacture: 18th Century
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Artware Fineart
This antique has been viewed 14 times in the past month with the most views from France.


Studio of Philip Mercier, 1689-1760
The Fair Oyster Girl
oil on canvas
83 x 67 cm (33 x 27 in.)
A young woman standing beside a window at a table, a basket by her right elbow, opening oysters and putting them on a plate in front of her, looking up towards the viewer, wearing a wide-brimmed hat over a frilled cap
Published by: Carington Bowles biography After: Philippe Mercier 1766-1799 (circa) inscribed in the margin with the title and ''The Oysters good! the Nymph so fair, Who would not wish to taste her Ware " // 124 // Printed for Carington Bowles, at No. 69 in St. Pauls Church Yard, London.'
'Avenue House, Ampthill, Bedfordshire: The Residence of Professor A.E. Richardson, P.R.A., and Mrs. Richardson', Antique Collector, XXVI, February 1955, p. 6.
M. Webster, Francis Wheatley, London, 1970, p. 70, fig. 85.
J. Ingamells and R. Raines, 'A catalogue of the paintings, drawings and etchings of Philip Mercier', The Walpole Society, XLVI, 1978, pp. 43-44, no. 164, pl. 11a.
E.D.G. Johnson, Paintings of the British Street Scene, 1986, pl. 109.

Mercier settled in England in circa 1716, becoming Principal Painter to Frederick Prince of Wales in 1729. In 1736, however, Mercier was dismissed and escaped London's competitive portraiture market for a more receptive audience in the country. The artist's patrons during this period included the Duke of Leeds, who acquired four pictures; Sir Robert Hildyard of Winestead, who bought a portrait and two 'fancy pictures', and Thomas Worsley, who acquired five portraits (Ingamells and Raines, op. cit., p. 4).
The decade from 1740-50, while he was based in York, was the greatest period of activity for Mercier - over 160 pictures survive from this time. It was during these years that he seemed to turn purposefully towards the 'fancy picture' genre he first started to favour in the late 1730s. The term 'fancy picture' was coined in 1737 by the art critic and historian George Vertue with specific reference to Mercier's work and the influence of French rococo pastoral pictures, such as those of Greuze and Boucher. Employed loosely throughout the 18th century, the phrase 'fancy picture' was used to describe charmingly contrived genre scenes of sentimental realism, incorporating the artist's own whimsy and imagination or references to contemporary literature, with figures shown in various roles and guises.
The rise of the print market at this time furthered the popularity of such pictures, as Hogarth had so successfully demonstrated in the 1730s with The Harlot's Progress and The Rake's Progress. From 1739, Mercier's compositions were widely disseminated through an alliance with John Faber Junior, a well-known printmaker who continued to work with him through the 1750s. Following Faber's death in 1756, Mercier expanded his published work through several other printmakers: McArdell, Purcell, and most notably Richard Houston (1722-1725), who produced single plates of Mercier's work in 1756, 1758 and 1760. Houston engraved The Oyster Girl twice - a testament to its popularity - firstly under the title The Fair Oysterinda and then as Native Meltons. Both were accompanied by the following verse, rather heavy-handedly insinuating that it is perhaps not only the oysters that are for sale: 'The oysters good - The Nymph so fair! Who would not wish to taste her Ware? No need has she aloud to Cry'em Since all who see her Fare must buy'em.'
The iconography derives in part from the European tradition of portraying street vendors, including the characters popularized by Marcellus Laroon's Cryes of the City of London and more contemporaneously Hogarth's The Shrimp Girl (National Gallery, London), but it also relies on themes explored in Dutch 17th century genre painting, where the preparation of food was often associated with the
Internal Ref: 4339


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 18th Century.


Height = 83 cm (32.7")
Width = 67 cm (26.4")
Depth = 2 cm (0.8")

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Artware Fineart
18 La Gare
51 Surrey Row
United Kingdom

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