Artist monogram and dated in graphite, lower left: 1859
While living in New York City from 1857 to 1872, Farrer cofounded the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art, which affirmed the aesthetic philosophy of the British Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood that emphasized the precise observation of unadorned nature. This guiding principle is evoked in Farrer’s meticulously executed domestic interior, featuring a woman sewing and conspicuously wearing a wedding ring. The reproduction of Raphael’s Madonna della Sedia hanging above the woman transfers the blessing of motherhood onto her. This inclusion, in addition to the grapes growing outside the window, gives an Italian flair to the drawing, which depicts an apartment in an immigrant neighborhood in New York City, possibly the residence of the cabinetmaker with whom Farrer lodged when he first arrived there.
John Wilmerding et al., American art in the Princeton University Art Museum: volume 1: drawings and watercolors,(Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum; New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2004).
"Acquisitions 1969", Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 29, no. 1 (1970): p. 16-27.