Skip to main content

Willem Claesz. Heda, Still Life with a Lobster

Key facts
Full title Still Life with a Lobster
Artist Willem Claesz. Heda
Artist dates 1594 - 1680
Date made 1650-9
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 114 × 103 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Frederick John Nettlefold, 1947
Inventory number NG5787
Location Room 23
Collection Main Collection
Still Life with a Lobster
Willem Claesz. Heda

Although apparently casually displayed, the objects in this still life would immediately have suggested wealth and extravagance to a seventeenth-century viewer. The cloths have a satin-like sheen, and the objects on them are all expensive luxuries. They‘re carefully chosen, not just because they are rare and precious but because they proudly show how Dutch merchants brought exotic items from far-flung parts of the globe.

They also demonstrate Heda’s skills in painting textures and objects projecting out of the picture towards us in subtle, rich colours. Embroidered onto the tablecloth is a cipher that seems to refer to a merchants’ guild, perhaps implying that the painting was commissioned by such a company. The handsome red lobster with the beady eye, placed with such prominence, suggests a connection with the sea as the source of their wealth.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo