The J. Paul Getty Museum

[Still Life with Fruit and Decanter]

Object Details


[Still Life with Fruit and Decanter]


Roger Fenton (English, 1819 - 1869)




London, England (Place Created)




Albumen silver print

Object Number:



35.4 × 43.2 cm (13 15/16 × 17 in.)

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Object Description

Roger Fenton began to make still lifes of fruits and flowers toward the end of his brief photographic career. Unlike his earlier, more documentary work, the still lifes were Fenton's conscious effort to align the medium of photography with the more traditional art form of painting.

This composition shows a bounty of edibles displayed against the rich textures of fringed lace and plaid shawls. The spiky stems of the pineapple push forward in the frame, begging to be plucked to expose the sweet ripeness inside. A glass decanter, its mouth and stopper subtly echoing the plump curves of the velvety peaches, glistening grapes, and succulent squash, refers slyly to wine, that most intoxicating fruit of fruits.

Experimental Photography: The First Golden Age 1851-1889 (April 11 to June 25, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), April 11 to June 25, 1989
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
Roger Fenton: The Orientalist Suite (July 16 to October 6, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 16 to October 6, 1996
In Focus: Tasteful Pictures (April 6 to August 22, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 6 to August 22, 2010
Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




How to Draw a Still Life

Lesson in which students learn about still life paintings and write a detailed description of a still life.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Three/Five-Part Lesson

How Artists Assemble Still Lifes

In this lesson students learn about and discuss the basic shapes used in artistic compositions.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson