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 Ochtervelt, Jacob (Dutch painter, 1634-1682) , The Music Lesson

Core Record

Title The Music Lesson
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Ochtervelt, Jacob (Dutch painter, 1634-1682)
Date Earliest about 1670
Date Latest about 1672
Description The theme of the music lesson first appeared in Dutch art around 1650 in the works of Metsu and Vermeer. In the background, the young lady's music teacher indicates the inscription on the spinet which may be loosely translated as, 'Music is a sweet alleviation of troubles' (the artist apparently adapted Horace's line from Odes 1: 32). Wright observes that the teacher often doubled as seducer. The artist has drawn a contrast between the maid's frank exchange with the music master and the more refined young lady's apparent guilelessness, seeming to be fully absorbed in her music making.
Current Accession Number 1955P113
Former Accession Number P.11355
Inscription front (on the lid of the spinet) 'Musica Laborum Dulce Levamen'
Subject everyday life (music lesson)
Measurements 97.1 x 78.1 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Ernest E. Cook through the National Art-Collections Fund 1955.
Provenance Barchard sale, Christie's, London, 7 May 1836, lot 108, bought by Edward Marsland; bought by Sir Cuthbert W. Quilter, 1897; Cuthbert W. Quilter sale, Christie's, 1909, lot 115, bought by Agnew's (to Quilter), 89; Cuthbert W. Quilter sale, Christie's, 26 June 1936, lot 39 bought by Gooden & Fox Ltd.
Principal Exhibitions Dutch Art, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1904, cat. no. 374; Pictures from Birmingham, Agnew's, 1957, cat. no. 29; Dutch Painting of the Seventeenth Century, Ferens Art Gallery, 1961, cat. no. 75; Primitives to Picasso, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1962, cat. no. 128; Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age, Birmingham City Museums and Art Gallery, 1989 - 1990, cat. no. 92; A Gift to the Nation: The Fine and Decorative Art Collection of Ernest E Cook, Holburne Museum of Art, 1991, cat. no. 24.
Publications Graves, A., A Century of Loan Exhibitions, London, 1913 - 15, vol. 4, pp. 2098-99; Kurestsky, S. D., Jacob Ochtervelt, 1979, p. 65, ill.; Burlington Magazine, vol. 99, p. 132; 'The Quilter Pictures', Connoisseur, vol. 98, p. 120; Art Digest, (10) August 1936; Catalogue of Paintings in Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, 1960; Wright, C. (ed), Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age in British Collections, Birmingham, 1989, p.116, ill.; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 107; Sir Cuthbert Quilter's Pictures. London Collection, privately printed, no date, p. 60; A Gift to the Nation: The Fine and Decorative Art Collections of Ernest E. Cook, Holburne Museum, Bath, 1991, p. 20, no. 24.
Notes Edward Marsland was of The Wilderness, Reading.

Note in file: 'Purchased by Sir Cuthbert Quilter in 1897. This may be the picture The Music Lesson', recorded in Seguier's Critical and Commerical Dictionary of the Works of Painters (p. 142) as having passed through an anonymous sale in London in 1836' (Sir Cuthbert Quilter's Pictures, no date).

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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