A 19thC Paper-Cut Trompe L'oeil Illusionist Still Life Study Of A Dead Partridge In a Glazed Oak Frame


Origin: French or Dutch
Period: Mid / Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: 1850-70
Height: 21.5 inches
Width: 17 inches

The hand coloured, cut and shaped lithograph on paper, shows a recently deceased partridge suspended on an inky blue ground from a pinned string, within an oval inset border and oak frame with inner gilt band.

Condition is good to very good, there is some general light foxing to the inset border though the study itself remains in excellent order throughout, the colours to the plumage remaining vivid and the frame and glass are all sound. There are no signs of a date or signature either to front or verso, though the back of the picture does remain undisturbed.

The subject matter is strikingly similar to that of Friedrich Heimerdinger’s (1817-1882) Trompe L'oeil Of A Dead Partridge, that example being in oils, though the partridge has been the subject of trompe l’oeil art since at least the early seventeenth century with famous works by the likes of Cornelis van Lelienbergh (1626-after 1676) and Hendrik de Fromantiou (Maastricht 1633/34-1694) both springing to mind.

The playful and intellectual nature of trompe l'oeil is the artistic ability to depict an object so exactly as to make it appear real. A heightened form of illusionism, the art of trompe l'oeil flourished from the Renaissance period with the discovery of perspective in fifteenth-century Italy and advancements in the science of optics in the seventeenth-century Netherlands enabled artists to render objects and spaces with eye-fooling exactitude. Both witty and serious, trompe l'oeil is a game artists play with spectators to raise questions about the nature of art and perception and this example is no different.

This superb assemblage is a fine example of this variant of tromp l’oeil, tricking the eye and amazing viewers for many moons since its creation, so much so that one is tempted to try and reach out and pluck the bird from it’s string.