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Key facts
Full title Peasants making Music in an Inn
Artist Studio of David Teniers the Younger
Artist dates 1610 - 1690
Date made about 1635
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 29.1 x 36.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lord Farnborough, 1838
Inventory number NG154
Location Not on display
Peasants making Music in an Inn
Studio of David Teniers the Younger

An old man playing a lute and wearing a bright blue and yellow minstrel’s outfit is the focus of this gloomy tavern scene by a follower of David Teniers the Younger. He hunches over in concentration as he tunes the strings; to the left, an old woman holds up sheet music, her mouth slightly open as if ready to sing.

Two books of songs – one inscribed ‘BASO’, for the bass voice part – lie on the table; it’s unclear whether the man peering over the woman’s shoulder is the bass part of the musical trio or just a curious audience.

A small owl watches from a window. It’s naturalistic enough, but is most likely a symbolic device, possibly indicating sinfulness. Another cryptic detail is the curling piece of paper tacked above the hearth, which shows a sketched portrait of a sitter whose profile is much like that of the man standing below.

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