Lady with a Bouquet (Snowballs)On Display

The genre painter Charles Courtney Curran is best known for his canvases depicting beautiful ladies in pleasant settings. Here, a young woman–the artist’s wife Grace Wickham Curran–arranges a bouquet of snowballs, pausing to take in their sweet fragrance. The small scale of the painting matches the intimacy of the moment. Her delicate features, light green shawl and blossom-like hat equate her to a flower, suggesting that she is as lovely and dainty as the blooms she savors. Curran’s choice of flower is likely a deliberate one. At the time this work was painted, bouquets were used to convey messages, with each flower having a specific symbolic meaning. According to the Victorian “language of flowers,” the snowball symbolized “thoughts of heaven,” adding an air of Christian piety to this work.

  • 1890
  • 12 3/16 x 8 7/8 in. (31 x 22.5 cm) frame: 21 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. (54.6 x 47 cm)
  • On reverse: Stencil in black on panel: G 1416; Hirschl & Adler label, Jordan Volpe Gallery label, and a perforated frame ID label
  • 1985.134
  • Gift of Mr. W. Houston Blount, Jr.; Dr. and Mrs. Walter D. Clark; Dr. and Mrs. Orville W. Clayton; EBSCO Industries; Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Gotlieb; Estate of Mr. Clarence B. Hanson, Jr.; Mrs. W. W. McTyeire, Jr.; Estate of Mr. George H. Mathews; Mr. Joshua R. Oden, Jr.; Mr. William M. Spencer III; Mrs. Alys R. Stephens; Mr. Elton B. Stephens; Mr. Elton B. Stephens, Jr.; Mr. James T. Stephens; Mrs. Martee Woodward Webb; and Mr. Thomas M. West, Jr.
  • Private collection, New York, NY, until 1979; Jordan Volpe Gallery, New York, NY; Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, NY; Coe Kerr Gallery, New York, NY; acquired from above by the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Ala. (1985).