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Offering Baby a Rose


James G. Clonney (American, 1812 - 1867)

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 inches

Museum Purchase: Exchange Funds from the Gift of Harry and Mary Dalton 1998.20

Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN