1865 John F. Francis Still Life Oil Paintings

Value (2012) | $100,000 Retail

They're still lifes by an artist named John F. Francis, dated 1865.

Well, he is really considered one of America's foremost 19th century still-life painters. But during his lifetime, he wasn't really very well known. It's only been in more recent times that that's the case. Francis started out as a portrait painter. And he was itinerant and spent time outside of Philadelphia in the Middle Atlantic states. And he didn't really begin painting still lifes until the 1850s, so somewhat later in his career. He died in 1886. His still lifes generally are tabletop. They vary from dessert subjects like the one closest to you, to fruit pieces like the one closest to me. He generally likes to paint to scale, and he also depicts the fruit in their natural way. You see here we have a little indentation in the apples and black spots. So he painted very realistically. Now, these were done, of course, in 1865. And we see that they are signed J.F. Francis, and also they're signed on the back. Now, these are oil on panel. Francis usually painted on canvas. But for the smaller works, he usually would use panel. I guess he felt more comfortable with it. Now have you ever had these appraised or valued?

No, never have.

And how far back in your family do they go?

We don't know that exactly, but it's possible that they purchased them from him.

And they lived in that…?

They were in that area.

Yeah, well, that's exciting. That's very exciting. Well, what makes these very special is the fact that we have a pair. And of course they're fresh to the market because your family has owned them for decades. And we also have the original frames.

The original frame.

And they're also in great condition. And a lot of the ones that we see coming into the marketplace have condition problems. So in terms of value, if we found these in a gallery for sale, I think a gallery would ask $100,000 for the pair.

Fun. That's more than I thought it would be. Well, thank you.

Appraisal Details

Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.
New York, NY
Appraised value (2012)
$100,000 Retail
Corpus Christi, TX (August 04, 2012)
19th Century
Artist's Board, Oil

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.