Incredibly intricate, ornate and detailed housed in an 18 x 15 inch period shadow box frame, this is truly unique art in every sense. Ca. 1860 to 1880 the “fruit” is lifelike, almost mouthwatering and supple by design. This fanciful fruitful bounty displays with elegance and charm that is completely unique.
No culture heretofore had embraced beeswax, one of the humblest materials found in nature, as an artistic medium the way the Victorians did. Beeswax has been used in western civilization since the time of ancient Rome in the creation of encaustic paintings and later in religious effigies during the early Christian to Renaissance periods. During the late eighteenth century into the early nineteenth, the popularity of small wax portraits or profiles was common, whether commemorating a royal person or capturing the likeness of the master and his wife from a prominent household. Wax, with its rather plastic qualities, allowed itself to be softened, molded, cut, and manipulated into a wide variety of shapes and forms. Once it was properly bleached to white, colored pigments could be added to give it the desired hue.
One of the many Victorian obsessions was the art of simulating nature in wax, particularly fruits and flowers. The idea of creating arrangements of flowers that never faded or baskets of fruit dial never spoiled, both intrigued and delighted. . . . . These artificial compositions knew no season. They merely existed to please the viewer and stimulate the senses.
From John Whitenight’s Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession