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Oil painting - Trompe l'oeil with Writing Materials
  • Trompe l'oeil with Writing Materials
    Colyer, Edwaert
  • Enlarge image

Trompe l'oeil with Writing Materials

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1702 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Colyer, Edwaert (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased from the funds of the F. R. Bryan Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

Physical description

Trompe l'oeil painting

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca.1702 (painted)


Colyer, Edwaert (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

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.


Height: 51.5 cm, Width: 63.7 cm, Height: 630 mm frame, Width: 800 mm frame, Depth: 55 mm frame

Object history note

Purchased from the dealer Robert Frank, 1951

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Trompe l'oeil with Writing Materials', Edwaert Colyer, late 17th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

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.


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Writing materials; Newspapers; Letter (correspondence); Trompe l'oeil




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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