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Oil painting - Fête Champêtre
  • Fête Champêtre
    Pater, Jean-Baptiste, born 1695 - died 1736
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Fête Champêtre

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    France (painted)

  • Date:

    1725-1735 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pater, Jean-Baptiste, born 1695 - died 1736

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 3, case WE

This painting is a good example of Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695-1736)’s ouput of 'fête galante', a genre painting created in France at the beginning of the 18th century by his master Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). Scenes depicting an amorous encounter on the edge of a wood in a romantic atmosphere such as the present one are characteristic of the genre. Pater, together with Nicolas Lancret, was the most famous disciple of Watteau whose influence would extend well into the 18th century.

Physical description

Elegant figures conversing and entertaining in a hilly wooded landscape with a village in the left middle distance across a river.

Place of Origin

France (painted)


1725-1735 (painted)


Pater, Jean-Baptiste, born 1695 - died 1736

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas


Height: 66 cm estimate, Width: 62.3 cm estimate

Object history note

Bequeathed by John Jones, 1882

Historical context note

This work is a good example of Pater's production of 'fête galante', a genre invented by his master Antoine Watteau some 20 years before the execution of this painting. It shows elegant figures distributed a grappolo (i.e. like a bunch of grapes) on the edge of a wood. Light effects focus on a couple of lovers while other couples and lone figures are clustered in the shade around them. A similar composition, representing the same main characters with fewer figures and minor variations is in the British Royal Collection (RCIN 400671), while another more complex version with an additional scene in the middle distance, is housed in the Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Inv. no. 2585).

Scenes of amorous encounters in idyllic and wooded landscape are characteristic of the genre of the 'fête galante', which can however be subdivided into several categories: these pictures can show concert scenes, games, diner parties, all set in outdoor spaces and in a romantic context. The present painting appears to be a conversation piece.

Pater was much influenced by Watteau's art but nevertheless showed a distinctive manner in his use of more vivid colours and more explicit subject matter, which lacks some of the mystery that characterised Watteau's scenes. Pater appeared less innovative than another great follower of Watteau, Nicolas Lancret, of whose work the museum also owns interesting examples (see 547-1882 and 515-1882)

These elegant and mischievous genre scenes anticipate the development of the pastoral in French art, of which Fragonard and Boucher would be the most famous exponents. The use of nature to enhance the intimate atmosphere of these paintings would also become the hallmark of the Rococo movement.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Fête Champêtre', Jean-Baptiste Pater, Paris, 1725-1735

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

C.M. Kauffmann, Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800.London, 1973, p. 268, cat. no. 268
Lady E. Dilke, French painters of the XVIIIth century, 1899, p. 99, repr. p. 189.
C. Phillips in The Burlington Magazine, xiii, 1908, p. 345.
Wallace Collection Catalogues, Pictures and Drawings, no. 383.
B. Long, Catatalogue of the Jones Collection, 1923, p. 34, pl. 27.
F. Ingersoll-Smouse, Pater, Paris, 1928, p. 40, no. 28, fig. 15.
P. Ramade and M. Eidelberg, Watteau et la fête galante, exh. cat. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes, Paris, 2004, cat. no. 21, p. 122-123.

Labels and date

The following is the label text from 1971 for Galleries 1-7 of the V&A:

"Fête Champêtre
By Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695-1736); Paris, about 1730
Oil on canvas
Jones Collection
Museum No. 543-1882" []


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Wood; Fetes; Genre; Figures


Paintings; Entertainment & Leisure


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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