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Title A Village Festival on St George’s Day
Collection English Heritage (Wellington Museum, Apsley House)
Artist Teniers, David II (Flemish painter, 1610-1690)
Date 1655 (dated)
Signed yes

Village festivals (known as a kermis or kermesse) with dancers and bagpipers are very common in Teniers's work: compare the larger work on copper signed and dated 1651, in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; a similar composition was formerly in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (sold Christie's, New York, 18 June 1982, lot 95). Painted after the artist's appointment as court painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, the small scale and careful finish of WM 1499 was undoubtedly intended to appeal to a sophisticated taste for elegant cabinet pictures.

Teniers was born in Antwerp, where he was a pupil of his father David Teniers I. He moved to Brussels in 1651 and became court painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, Governor of the Netherlands, and curator of his picture collection. Teniers's earliest works are peasant interiors in the manner of Adriaen Brouwer; from about 1640 he combined landscapes with scenes of peasant life.

Current Accession Number WM 1499–1948
Inscription front lr 'D.TENIERS. FIC. 1655'
Subject figure; animal (dog); landscape; buildings and gardens; everyday life
Measurements 17.0 x 20.6 cm
Material oil on metal (copper)

The red banner flying from the window appears in several of Teniers's kermis scenes, in which it is more clearly marked with an image of St George (e.g. two examples in the Royal Collection, nos. RCIN 405952, dated 1649, and RCIN 405207, dated mid 1660s). Popular celebrations of the St George's Day Festival (23 April) were also depicted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Younger, and other Netherlandish painters. In contrast to the large canvases by Teniers from the Spanish royal collection, this small painting on copper was acquired by the 1st Duke at the Lapeyrière sale. One similar composition of comparable size was among the paintings captured at Vitoria (Wellington 1901, p. 23, no. 16, now at Stratfield Saye). The 1st Duke of Wellington owned fifteen paintings by Teniers – most of them from the Spanish royal collection. Ten are now in the Wellington Museum, and five remain in the present Duke's collection (Wellington 1901, nos. 13, 14, 16, 31, 237).

For Teniers see exh. cat., Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, David Teniers The Younger: Paintings, Drawings, 1991; exh. cat., Karlsruhe, Staatlichen Kunsthalle, David Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern, 2005–06.

Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author C.M. Kauffmann, revised by Susan Jenkins



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