The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Bird Catchers
  • Nicolas Lancret (1690 - 1743)
  • The Bird Catchers
  • France
  • c.1738
  • Painting
  • Oil on copper, tinned on the recto
  • Image size: 32.5 x 40.6 cm
  • P436
  • Small Drawing Room
Further Reading
  • The painting and its pendant, P478, depict love in two different ways. This painting takes the bird hunt as an obvious erotic allegory, whereas its pendant depicts an ideal, contemporary scene of love. The figures in Lancret’s painting wear theatrical costume rather than realistic peasant clothing highlighting the symbolic meaning of the scene. The paintings are fine examples of Lancret's late style. P436 is based on Dutch renderings of games with allegorical overtones. The painter also emulated Netherlandish works in the high finish of the paintings. Very unusually for his work, he painted them on silver-coated copper, a support that helps to highlights this effect.
    Both paintings belonged in the eighteenth century to a succession of distinguished owners including César-Gabriel, duc de Praslin and his grandson Antoine-César, duc de Choiseul et Praslin.