Fortune in the Cup | Florence Elizabeth Williams

Florence Elizabeth Williams  (17th May 1833, London – 1915, Bowral NSW)

Fortune In The Cup | 1881

Oil on card

24.7 x 30.8 cm

Signed lower right corner ‘FEW

Housed in the original guilt frame

Exhibition History:

Fortune in the Cup was exhibited at the Second Annual Exhibition of the Art Society of NSW in 1881. Garden Palace, Sydney NSW. Florence exhibited under ‘Mrs. A. Williams’ (Alfred was her husbands names)

Catalogue No. 187

Fortune In The Cup

15 Guineas

Florence Williams was a founding member of the Art Society of NSW in 1880. Florence exhibited in the first Society exhibition at the Garden Palace in 1880 with a number of works, most notable was titled ‘Ophelia’, which was given an extremely good review by the Bulletin newspaper (The Bulletin, Vol 4 no 40 p2). Ophelia also held the most expensive price of 75 pounds for the entire exhibiton. For the Second Annual Art Society Exhibition Florence entered 8 works, Primrose and Violets, On the Brook, Fortune in the Cup, The Pets ( a group of guinea-pigs), The Desert, In The Pantomine, Flowers and Portraits in Oils.

The following year the Garden Palace was engulfed by flames in the early morning of September 22, 1882.

Fortune in the Cup offers a rear glimpse at an early interior scene, most likely completed somewhere in Sydney as Florence and her husband were living in Glebe Point up to around 1889. The scene shows a women sitting at a table looking into her teacup. The interior of the room has a lush green chase in the background along with a matching green rug and tablecloth. There is a still life painting in the upper right corner of the room, which is housed, in a beautiful ornate frame.

Joan Kerr noted ‘ Florence’s paintings seem unique for Australia at the time when domestic genre paintings are almost unknown’.

Most recently Florence Williams art sold for a record $ 90,000 in 2015. The work featured a crimson Rosella set against lush vegetation and Mount Wellington, which was completed whilst Florence lived in Tasmania, c1874.

(Compiled with the help of Col Fullagar of Integrity Resolutions )

Inscription on verso of artwork:

‘The Fortune in the Cup’

Fifteen Guineas

(Exhibited in The Art Society’s Exhibition at the Garden Palace)

Painted of (details rubbed out)

In 1880 or 81

Exhibition details. Florence Williams. Day Gallery


Florence Williams gifted this artwork to her cousin Frederick Williams, Saturday, February 1904.

Two Inscriptions verso of artwork related:

Label 1-

‘Wednesday 30th December. 1903’

Dear Cousin Frederick,

The Monsieur wants me to give you a little picture, & I shall be very happy to do so for a New Years present if you don’t object. Last sentence eligible.

Come and fetch it the first Saturday if you can. Yrs sincerely in haste. Signed F.E.W

Letter from Florence Williamse to Cousin Frederick Williams. Day Gallery

Label 2-

‘The Fortune in the Cup’

Painted by me 1880 or 1881

Exhibited in the Garden Palace

Florence E. Williams

Presented to

Cousin Frederick Williams

Saturday February 1904

By me F.E.W

Provenance. Cousin Frederick Willaims. Day Gallery

Verso of artwork


Fortune in the Cup. Florence Williams. 1881. Day Gallery