The image below has been computer-enhanced to remove age-related browning.
Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a Mediterranean plan cultivated for its attractive pink flowers. All parts of the plant are poisonous to animals and humans, and accidental ingestion of even very small amounts can cause life-threatening metabolic and cardiac symptoms. Even inhalation of smoke from burning garden remains can cause symptoms. Human cases are rare, tending to occur only in children or deliberate self-harm, but more common in where plant fragments are accidentally consumed by domestic animals.
Whether Annie was implying any ‘symbolist’ theme is unknown. Van Gogh used the same flower in a painting in 1888 purely because he enjoyed the showiness of their display, not for any underlying message.
- Medium: oil on panel.
- Dimensions: 200 x 275 mm (0.06 m²).
- History: signed and dated 1883; auctioned Sotheby’s, London, 2 Dec 2002, est. £6,000-£8,000, sold £7,170 (£9,220 with fees).
- Location: unknown.