The Fruit Seller. Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. Signed and dated 1877, labelled. Provenance: Mellors-Laing Galleries, Toronto; Ex. Coll. Dr. R.J. Coyle and Dorothy Coyle, Windsor, Ontario; Private Collection, Ontario, by the 1990s. Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1877, no. 490. Courtesy of the Maas Gallery, London. Click on image to enlarge it.

Commentary from the Maas Website

Calderon, of French and Spanish descent, lived in Poitiers and Paris before settling in London. There he became a leading member of the St John’s Wood Clique, a group of artists working in the 1860s who believed that contemporary art should be of contemporary subjects, not ‘High Art’ as might be seen at the Royal Academy. However, most of the Clique painters became Academicians in time. Calderon was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and won early fame for his popular picture of 1856, Broken Vows (Tate), which was accompanied by a line from The Spanish Student, Longfellow’s theatrical adaptation of Cervantes’s La Gitanilla. This attraction to Spain, his father’s country, would resonate throughout Calderon’s career, and is reflected in this picture of a Spanish fruit seller, described by The Morning Post when it was shown at the Royal Academy in 1877 as ‘a veritable Eve who offers you an apple with an irresistible air of importunity’

The Maas Gallery, 15a Clifford Street, London W1S 4JZ has most generously given its permission to use in the Victorian Web information, images, and text from its catalogues, and this generosity has led to the creation of many valuable documents on painting and drawing. The copyright on text and images from their catalogues remains, of course, with the Gallery. Readers should consult their website to obtain information about recent exhibitions and to order their catalogues. — George P. Landow


Storey, G. A., A. R. A. “Philip Hermogenes Calderon, A. R. A. (1833-98).” Magazine of Art. 22 (November 1897-October 1898): 446-52. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library. Web. 28 October 2014. [Complete text in the Victorian Web.]

Last modified 28 October 2014