The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Fête in a Wood
  • Nicolas Lancret (1690 - 1743)
  • Fête in a Wood
  • France
  • c.1722
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 60 x 79.2 cm
    Made up to, Object size: 64 x 90.8 cm
  • Inscription: '23' or '93' Indistinct
  • P448
  • Small Drawing Room
Further Reading
  • The painting is one of Lancret's first masterpieces and one of the outstanding French genre paintings from the period. In the clearing of a wood, numerous revellers are shown in contemporary dress and historical costume enjoying the pleasures of a fête: some descend from a carriage, others converse, walk, and take in the sights, while in the background a carrousel turns and on the right servants provide a clear social contrast to the aristocratic guests.
    The picture dates from the early 1720s, when Lancret was still deeply influenced by Watteau. Lancret's painting harks back to Flemish scenes of village feasts from the seventeenth century, e. g. by David Teniers. Like in all Fête galante, the earlier template is translated into a contemporary scene, although equally imaginary in character. Lancret created a particularly complicated, multi-figures scene to prove the entire range of his abilities. The framing trees and the lighting easily hold the svene together.
    The painting was in the collection of King Stanislas August of Poland in the late eighteenth century.