James Clonney specialized in genre painting, a form of art in which the primary subject was everyday life. Clonney’s attention to narrative details, as seen in this work, became a hallmark of his highly popular style. On a basic level, the subject matter of the painting reflects a widespread Victorian interest with roses in 19th century American and British cultures. As Queen Victoria’s most prized flower, the rose and its cultivation took center stage in mid-19th century horticultural writings. Although the exact symbolic nature of the gesture of offering a rose to a baby is uncertain, it may suggest the father’s desire to pass along virtue and purity—two of the common meanings of the flower—to his child.
Place object was created: NY
oil paint, canvas
Measurements: frame height: 32.5 inches frame width: 27 inches frame depth: 3.5 inches height: 25 inches width: 19 inchesMuseum Purchase: Exchange Funds from the Gift of Harry and Mary Dalton 1998.20
Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN