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Attributed to Claeissins, Anthuenis (Flemish artist, ca.1536-1613) , A Family Saying Grace Before a Meal, a Christian Family Portrait

Core Record

Title A Family Saying Grace Before a Meal, a Christian Family Portrait
Collection Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon
Artist Attributed to Claeissins, Anthuenis (Flemish artist, ca.1536-1613)
Date Earliest about 1585
Date Latest
Description A family group seated around a table laid for a meal. The family are at prayer, and sit around a long refectory table draped with damask tablecloth. An early example of the Christian family portrait, a very frequent theme in the painting of the Low Countries of this period. It is thought that the family was probably Catholic (as the Imperial Habsburg escutcheon is woven into the damask tablecloth). This picture is rich in biblical symbolism derived from Psalms 1 ands 128. In the background ot the left of the painting, the view through the open window shows a tree by a river (symbolic of a good family man) and a vine growing against a wall (symbolic of the fertile housewife). There are five children in the foreground, a young girl and her elder sister to the right and two young boys and their brother to the left. Their elder siblings, a young woman and two young men, are seated either side of their parents on a low-backed settle. The table is laid with pewter plates, two silver and gilt salts, a large pewter beaker, a pewter tazze (a standing bowl with a tall stem), a loaf of bread and a joint of beef garnished with flat leaf parsley on a pewter charger. A maidservant entering the room on the right brings a joint of lamb.
Current Accession Number STRST:SBT1990-49
Former Accession Number STRST:Picture No. 320 ;SBT 249s
Subject portrait (family); everyday life (meal); religion (saying grace)
Measurements 96.5 x 142 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel (hardwood {oak})
Acquisition Details Purchased from the Weiss Gallery 1992.
Provenance French nobleman at Amboise; Henry Samuel of Oxford Street; bought by Henry Yates Thompson; bequeathed to Sir Christopher Chancellor.
Principal Exhibitions Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel, 1887 (;)
Publications De Vos, D. ĎA Family Saying Grace before the Meal' An examination of an unknown painting by Antoon Claeissins', unpublished, Bruges, October 1989; Thiel, Pieter J. J.; Poor Parents, rich children and Family saying grace: two related aspects of the iconography of late sixteenth and seventeenth-century Dutch domestic morality', Simiolous, 1987 p.130; Franits, W., 'The Family Saying Grace: a theme in Dutch art of the seventeenth century', Simiolus, vol. 16, 1986, pp.36-49
Notes Original black and gold frame. On panel in four horizontal oak segments. Sir Christopher Chancellor of Shieldhall, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Rights Owner Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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