This is an unusual, wonderful, and beautifully done folk art example of a tinsel or foil painting. The vast majority of tinsel paintings are of flowers. This rarity depicts a bluebird hovering over a basket filled with pears, a melon, and apples. A cluster of cherries, and bunches of grapes and foliage surround the basket. Colors are deep and very vibrant, and include blues, purple, brown, various shades of yellow and green, white, reds, and others.
Tinsel paintings of this type are almost a completely American form, becoming highly popular around 1860, and continuing into the mid 20th century. Earlier pieces, such as this one, were done by reverse painting on the glass, and the foil was not colored, but picked up its hues from the paint on the glass it was backing.
Often, tinsel paintings show substantial loss, scratches, and paint lifting. This particular one is is superb condition, with virtually no problems. The very fine gilt over gesso frame is original, as is the wooden backboard. The sight size is 11 inches by 9 inches, and the framed size is 14 1/8 inches by 11 5/8 inches.