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The Game of Pied-de-Boeuf
after Jean-François de Troy
/

Pied-de-Boeuf (‘cow foot’) was originally a children’s game, in which the players counted as they put their hands one on top of another, and usually ended with the granting of a kiss to whoever reached ‘nine’. The gentleman has taken hold of the lady in grey’s wrist, presumably because he has reached ‘nine’ and is claiming his ‘pied de boeuf’. She points at him, perhaps accusing him of cheating, or coyly objecting to his demand for a kiss. The two grinning naked infants lolling on the carved relief above the pair suggest the inappropriately informal nature of the gathering.

This a copy in reverse of Detroy’s The Game of Pied-de-Boeuf of 1725 (private collection). Our copy was painted using a synthetic ultramarine pigment only available from 1828 onwards, which means that it cannot have been painted by Detroy, who died in 1752, or his immediate followers.

Key facts
Artist after Jean-François de Troy
Artist dates 1679 - 1752
Full title The Game of Pied-de-Boeuf
Date made between 1828 and 1904
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 33.7 x 27.6 cm
Inscription summary Inscribed
Acquisition credit Presented by Lt.-Col. George Babington Croft Lyons, 1908
Inventory number NG2216
Location in Gallery Not on display
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