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Maker(s):Ryder, Platt Powell
Culture:American (1821-1896)
Title:The Story of the Cup
Date Made:1866
Materials:oil on canvas
Measurements:canvas: 14 1/8 x 17 3/16 in.; 35.8775 x 43.6563 cm
Accession Number:  AC 1969.84
Credit Line:Gift of Herbert W. Plimpton: The Hollis W. Plimpton (Class of 1915) Memorial Collection
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
This sentimental, rural scene by little-known Brooklyn-based genre painter Platt Powell Ryder features an intriguing episode of domestic divination. Dating to 1866, the painting focuses on fortune-telling conducted by the elderly woman reading tea leaves at center and her smiling, younger female companions to either side. The youthful woman at the left appears particularly invested in its outcome. Perhaps she has appealed to her elder for insight into her future prospects for love, marriage, and motherhood? If so, then she would have reason for concern: Prospects for courtship and marriage for young American women were severely diminished by the recently concluded Civil War, which took the lives of over 600,000 men. Ryder’s cozy interior, rendered with a pleasingly warm palette, belies the grim historical circumstances.

RRG, 2010

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