Oil painting on canvas, Larder with Dead Game, Swan and Lobster ,Fruit, Vegetables and a Pointer Bitch defending her Puppies by Frans Snyders (Antwerp 1579 - Antwerp 1657). A domestic interior; a window is in the top left, beneath which is a very low wooden table, upon which is a centrally placed swan, to the left of which is a lobster on a silver dish, two hares hang from the wall on the right, and two dogs guard over the food at the bottom of the image, with a third coming in from the right; further baskets of fruit fill the rest of the space.
Elements of this game larder recur in other compositions by Snyders - notably the dead swan and peacock in the signed picture at Pommersfelden (cf. Hella Robels, Frans Snyders, Munich, 1989, no.15), in the variants of this, and (with the hung young wild boar) in the painting reproduced by Willem van Haecht in his paintings of Alexander the Great visiting the Studio of Apelles which is now at Charlecote; the bitch defending her pups in the picture in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden (Robels, no.36), in the variants of this, and in a number of other pictures (e.g. Robels, nos. 46, 61, 62, & 66); as well as lesser elements such as the boar's head and the lobster - but there are enough original features, and the quality of the painting is high enough, for it to be at least in part autograph.
Snyders was a pupil and occasional collaborator of Rubens who specialised in painting animals and still lifes, both in indoor and in landscape settings. This picture, which came from Mrs Greville's London house, and for many years remained on loan there when it was the Guards Club, but was subsequently sent to Trerice, has been cleaned and restored by Alan Bush of IFACS before being hung here, revealing unexpected quality. A number of the elements of this picture - notably the bitch with pups, and lobster on a dish recur in other paintings by Snyders, indicating studio repetition, but many details are fresh.
Bequeathed by Margaret (Anderson) McEwan, The Hon. Mrs Ronald Greville (1863-1942) with Polesden Lacey, to the National Trust, in memory of her father, William McEwan (1827-1913); on loan from Polesden Lacey
Polesden Lacey, The McEwan Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
Frans Snyders (Antwerp 1579 - Antwerp 1657), artist