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Painting Title A Game Stall
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Snyders, Frans (Flemish painter, 1579-1657)
Date Earliest about 1625
Date Latest about 1630
Signed yes

A kitchen boy or market stall-holder stands alongside a range of identifiable game and poultry littered on tables, benches and baskets: avocet, mallard, curlew, pheasant, bittern, mute swan, grey heron, pigeon, teal, blackcock, cockerel, grey partridge, bullfinch, yellowhammer, house sparrow, redwing, golden orioles, woodcock, starling and redstart. Frans Snyders (Snijders) was a Flemish painter specialising in depicting animals and still lifes. He was known for his hunting pieces - depictions of wild animals killed at the hunt, collected usually at the table, and often accompanied by the depiction of a servant. Such pictures were usually considered to be a symbol of wealth and high social position, as hunting was considered an activity of the aristocracy.

The painting is a part of a set that originally consisted of four pieces decorating the dining room of the dukes of Newcastle at their estate in Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire; the four showed, apart from Game Stall, a Fish Market, Herbs Market and Vegetable and Fruit Market. The last of these still exists in the Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena, California (no. F.1973.16.P). Game Stall is a hunting piece, so it contains the figure of a man, while the Fruit and Vegetable Market includes a woman and a child. The vending of produce is in the hands of women, while the sale of flesh is the business of men; a man is associated with killing while a woman represents a fertility of the Earth.

Current Accession Number YORAG : 802
Inscription front cr (on the edge of the table) 'F. Snyders fecit'
Subject still life (game); figure
Measurements 175.2 x 254.0 cm
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by F.D. Lycett Green through the National Art Collections Fund 1955.
Provenance Marshal George Wade sale (d. 1748), purchased by Rt. Hon. Henry Pelham; by descent to Pelham's daughter Catherine Pelham (1727-1760), wife of Henry Pelham-Clinton (2nd Duke of Newcastle and 9th Earl of Lincoln); by descent to Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton-Hope, 8th Duke of Newcastle and 15th Earl of Lincoln; Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 4 June 1937, lot 104 as by Snyders and Jan Lange, purchased by F.D. Lycett Green.
Principal Exhibitions The Old Masters and the Deceased Masters of British School, Royal Academy, London, 1879, no. 252; British Institution, London 1851, no. 14; F.D. Lycett Green Gift, York City Art Gallery, 1955, no. 85; The Irresistible Object: Still Life 1600-1985, City Art Gallery, Leeds, 1985, no. 13; A Matter of Life and Death, The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, 2007.
Publications Walpole, H., Aedes Walpolianae, 1752, p. 80; Waagen, G.F., Galleries and cabinets of art in Great Britain: being an account of more than forty collections of paintings, drawings, sculptures, mss., &c. &c. visited in 1854 and 1856, and now for the first time described Supplement, London 1857, p. 508; Griendl, E., Les Peintres Flamands de Nature Morte au XVIIe Siecle, Brussels, 1956, pp. 52, 181-182; York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. I: Foreign Schools 1350-1800, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1961, p. 81; PREVIEW. City of York Art Gallery Quarterly 58, April 1962, vol. XV, pp. 551-55, proposing date 1625-30; Catalogue Supplement 1974: Amendments and Additions to Catalogue Volumes I and II, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1975, p. 12; Lahrkamp, H., 'Der "Lange Jan". Leben und Werk des Barockmalers Johann Bockhorst aus Münster', Westfalen 60, 1982 I, cat. 95, p. 144; Griendl, E., Les Peintres Flamands de Nature Morte au XVIIe Siecle, Sterrebeck 1983, cat. 46 and 85, pp. 75, 374; Robertson, A., Strickland-Constable, M., The Irresistible Object: Still Life 1600-1985, Leeds, 1985, cat. 13; Robels, H., Frans Snyders, Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1989, pp. 66, 141, 164, cat. 40, p. 204-205; Green, R., York City Art Gallery. An Illustrated Guide, York 1991, p. 8; Richardson, W., Richardson, J., Food through the Eyes of Artists, Oxford, 1993, pp. 14-15; Koslow, S. Frans Snyders: The Noble Estate, Antwerp 1995, endnote 125; Vlieghe, H., Flemish Art and Architecture 1585-1700, New Haven, 1998, p. 214, suggesting that the staffage is by Cornelis de Vos; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 333.

Engraved by R. Earlom in 1783 for Boydell's 'Russian Gallery' (the Houghton collection sold to Catherine II of Russia in 1779) with the explanatory inscription: 'In the Coll. of his Grace the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park...The Empress of Russia having purchased the Houghton Collection., the proprietor had not time to make a drawing from this picture before their departure, the Duke of Newcastle having 4 original Pictures by Snyders of the Markets with very little variation gave leave to make a Drawing from ths picture, in order to make the set complete'.

The figures were believed to be by Johann Boeckhorstand (German painter and draughtsman, 1605-1668, active in Flanders), who was influenced by Rubens (he kept a relationship with Rubens' studio) and Jordaens (he was Jordaens' pupil) and often collaborated as a figure painter in landscapes and still lifes by Jan Wildensand and Frans Snyders, which was common practice among Antwerp painters. That attribution was based on the information given by Horace Walpole, that 'Mr. Pelham has four Markets by Snyders [...] the figures by Long John'. Later it has been suggested that the figures in both survived paintings of the set were painted by Cornelis de Vos (Flemish painter, c. 1584-1651), an Antwerp Baroque painter who mainly painted portraits. He worked also as collaborator with Peter Paul Rubens, and his style followed that of Anthony van Dyck; he was also Snyder's brother-in-law. However, this attribution may be questioned on stylistic ground, especially in the case of the staffage in the painting in Pasadena, which seems to be not good enough to be by de Vos.

Frans Snyders created several sets of four markets. The set from the Houghton Collection, which is now in St. Petersburg, used to be identified as the one commisioned by Antoine Triest (1576-1657), Bishop of Bruges and later Ghent, and later probably kept in Goldsmiths' Hall in Brussels until sold to a picture dealer who took them to England in the 18th century. However, recent research has led to the conclusion that the Houghton set was originally commisioned for Jacques van Ophem, a member of a distinguished Brussels family, who died in 1647. As a result, the Antoine Triest commision was tentatively considered as a possible provenance of the set from the Pelham Collection. If that was the case, it would have had to have been taken to England in the first half of the 18th century. In 1771 the Triest set was mentioned by J. F. M. Michel (Histoire de la vie de P. P. Rubens, Brussels, 1771) as being already in England, while one other set was in Bruges at that time (with Mr. de Vicq).

Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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