Trompe l'oeil with Writing Materials

Oil Painting
ca.1702 (painted)
Trompe l'oeil with Writing Materials thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A Dutch painter possibly of English descent, Edwaert Colyer (who later anglicised his name to Edward Collier) worked in Leiden and later Amsterdam. He moved to London in 1693, where he worked until 1706. During this period in London he was active as a painter of still lives and trompes l'oeil. This trompe-l'oeil painting is a virtuoso representation of the painter's skill at making a flat surface appear three-dimensional. Objects represented are a letter rack with writing materials including a quill, sticks of sealing wax, a stamp and a paper knife. There is also a folded news sheet, a copy of the almanac Apollo Anglicanus and a medal representing Charles I. These three items allude to the accession of Queen Anne, which occurred on 8 March 1702 (1701 old style). Collier's signature appears as an inscription on a folded sheet of paper.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting, 'Trompe l'oeil with Writing Materials', Edwaert Colyer, late 17th century
Physical Description
Trompe l'oeil painting
Dimensions
  • Height: 51.5cm
  • Width: 63.7cm
  • Frame height: 630mm
  • Frame width: 800mm
  • Frame depth: 55mm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'for/ Mr.E. Collier./ Painter at/ London' (This is written on a folded piece of paper, tucked under the middle leather strap, just right of centre.)
Credit line
Purchased from the funds of the F. R. Bryan Bequest
Object history
Purchased from the dealer Robert Frank, 1951
Subjects depicted
Summary
A Dutch painter possibly of English descent, Edwaert Colyer (who later anglicised his name to Edward Collier) worked in Leiden and later Amsterdam. He moved to London in 1693, where he worked until 1706. During this period in London he was active as a painter of still lives and trompes l'oeil. This trompe-l'oeil painting is a virtuoso representation of the painter's skill at making a flat surface appear three-dimensional. Objects represented are a letter rack with writing materials including a quill, sticks of sealing wax, a stamp and a paper knife. There is also a folded news sheet, a copy of the almanac Apollo Anglicanus and a medal representing Charles I. These three items allude to the accession of Queen Anne, which occurred on 8 March 1702 (1701 old style). Collier's signature appears as an inscription on a folded sheet of paper.
Bibliographic References
  • Tim Batchelor, ed. Dead Standing Things London: Tate Britain, 2012, p.5, illus.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1951, London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1962.
  • Dror Wahrman, Mr. Collier's Letter Racks: A Tale of Art & Illusion at the Threshold of the Modern Information Age, Oxford, 2012.
Collection
Accession Number
P.23-1951

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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