Mary Fedden


  • Signed and dated '1990' (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 30 x 36 ins


Royal Academy, London, Summer Exhibition 1990, where purchased by the present owner

London, Royal Academy, Summer Exhibition 1990, cat. no. 94

Christopher Andreae, Mary Fedden, Enigmas and Variations, Lund Humphries, 2207, ill. p.25

In this joyful composition, Mary has positioned objects on a set of shelves in such a way as to create an ambiguous space; the bowl of fruit disappears under the shelf, the bottles extend above the shelf while the grapes teeter over the shelf-edge. At the top of the composition, two jars and a pot of tea balance precariously on a ledge. The 'shetland lamp' is also apparently hanging on a hook rather than resting on a shelf, as it first appears.

The depiction of the objects themselves adds to the jaunty feeling; only some of the objects are shaded, some have shadows, others seem to float. The bottles are intentionally flattened, with a straight line, where one would, in reality, see a curve along the bottom edge of the bottle.

Mary has also used text as a playful device, leaving some of the letters in 'Gin' and 'Tea' hidden, allowing the viewer to fill in the missing letters, a device she uses again in works such as Milk White Roses (catalogue no. 42)