Just a Couple of Young Chancers a Deluded Gentleman, two loyal Dogs and a Cat that wants the Cream, all in a tiny Antique Miniature Painting


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THE STORY - And of course I have omitted to mention in my very long title the maid that peeps from behind the door. Well of course this little miniature grabbed my attention when I saw it in an auction catalogue with a scene which is all at once, comic, charming and chaotic, and with that darling cat hanging from the table at the centre of it. The scene is set in an 18th century interior with a staid bewigged gentleman enjoying the cynical attentions of a younger woman whom behind his back presents in the form of the Ace of hearts playing card her love to a younger more classically dashing young Officer. All this being witnessed by two dogs and that maid. Although the scene is from the 18th Century I do not believe the painting is, my instinct tells me it would date either from the very end of the 19th century or possibly the beginning of the twentieth, possibly as a copy of an illustration which I have been unable to find in my searches. The miniature is painted with oil which has been laid onto board and it sits in a gilt wooden frame with a circular mount. And there is just so much wonderful detail in such a small painting, the antlers on the wall, along with the two paintings, the onion bottle of wine held by the be-wigged gentleman, the glass on the table, the jug falling from it emptying its contents into a bowl on the floor and of course that darling cat. And I love the way it is painted with its use of colour pulling your eye into the centre of the painting and to the act of deceit and the confusion caused by that dear cat.

AGE - Circa 1900

CONDITION - The painting is in good condition, there is craquelure to the paint which I hope you can see from the photos. The frame is sound but I do think this has been reframed at some point in the same frame as I hope you can see in the final photo there are another set of holes at the side in the back of the frame for the wire, so I think at some point these holes became lose meaning the whole frame was turned allowing from fresh holes to be drilled. I also think the frame has been repainted at some point and I do wonder if this was done at the same time.

DIMENSIONS (Approx) - Framed - Height 4&1/2" / 11.5cm, Width 4&1/2" / 11.5cm, Depth 1/2" / 1.25cm. Image Size - Diameter 3&1/2" /9cm

Every time I look at this little painting I cannot help but smile and wonder about the artist who painted it and how long it must of taken him to work out the composition. In a way for me the three main characters are characters that could have been taken from a story or indeed from another painting but the decision to include the animals, the two dogs and that troublesome cat give the humans more depth and I imagine each of the animals was owned by one of the protagonists in the painting. The old faithful Black Labrador to the poor deceived Wigged Gentleman, the younger looking Spaniel to the Young Officer and that troublesome, mischievous cat, is surely a perfect match for that shameless young woman. Delightful chaos.

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