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Studio of David Teniers the Younger, Peasants making Music in an Inn

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 × 36.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lord Farnborough, 1838
Inventory number NG154
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
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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