Artist: Francis William Edmonds (American, Hudson, New York 1806–1863 Bronxville, New York)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 25 x 30 1/8 in. (63.5 x 76.5 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Erving Wolf Foundation Gift and Gift of Hanson K. Corning, by exchange, 1975
Accession Number: 1975.27.1
This work, the last the artist exhibited at the National Academy of Design, exemplifies his gently moralizing approach to genre painting. In a setting influenced by the established formulas of seventeenth-century Dutch masters, Edmonds contrasts the daughter's extravagant purchase with the faults of her disapproving parents. The father's bottle and glass and the mother's mirror imply indulgence in drink and vanity, respectively. The poor delivery girl serves as an added moral gibe to the comfortable middle-class family. The elderly man in this painting may depict or be based on Edmonds's brother, Judge John Worth Edmonds. The view through the door may represent Irving Place, where the judge lived until his death in 1872. The figure of the woman standing beside the old man is almost identical to a figure appearing in a number of works by Edmonds and may have been based on his mother.