This painting will be included in the catalogue raisonné of Fantin-Latour paintings and pastels being prepared by Galerie Brame & Lorenceau.
During his second trip to England in 1861, Fantin painted numerous sketches of flowers and fruit that delighted his hosts, Ruth and Edwin Edwards. Upon his return to Paris the artist planned to devote more time to painting still-lifes, believing that they would prove to be more saleable than his portraits. He hoped to establish a market for them that would ensure a livelihood. It was a risky venture to undertake, for he had to contend with a traditional bias in the Salon that set still-life painting on a low rung of the hierarchy of artist's subjects, but he was encouraged by the acceptance of his still-lifes in the 1862 Royal Academy exhibition in London. The following year, with Edwin Edwards acting as his agent, the American expatriate painter James McNeill Whistler purchased several of his still-lifes and commissioned others for his English clientele.
Despite his growing success in London, there was no response to the first still-life painting that he exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1866 and his plans for a French market failed to materialize. His reputation had spread quietly, however, among a small circle of fellow painters and critics in the Batignolles group associated with Edouard Manet. The critic Zacherie Astruc wrote in 1863: "In order to reveal this painter's talent in all its freshness, charm and strength, one must--after a thorough consideration of his large pictures turn to his flower paintings, so highly regarded in the art world. These are marvels of colour and artistic sensibility. They are as compelling as they are charming, in fact one may even call them moving. There are tonal rhythms, freshness, abandon, surprising vivacity. Their beauty captivates. This is nature with all that fleeting radiance that is the fate of flowers. Delicacy of expression being the essence of his art, Fantin seems to be the visual poet of flowers" (quoted in D. Druick and M. Hoog, Fantin-Latour, exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1983, p. 114).
Edwin Edwards died in 1879, and his wife Ruth took his place as Fantin's dealer in England. She probably acquired the present painting as part of this arrangement shortly after it was painted. Fantin continued to send her the majority of his still-lifes until 1887, when one of the artist's Paris collectors introduced him to Gustave Tempelaere. The latter helped the artist to finally make headway in the French market, and was so successful that by the mid-1890s Fantin no longer needed his English sales, and ceased sending paintings to Mrs. Edwards.