Champigneulles 1661 – Paris 1743
Autumn: Spaniel and Hound, Game, Fruit and Vegetables
Oil on canvas
159.4 x 128.2 cm
Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1983.16
One of the outstanding French animal and hunt painters, Desportes learned his craft from a Flemish painter who had studied under the famous Snyders. He was favoured with royal commissions throughout his career, including from Louis XIV, the Grand Dauphin, the Regent and Louis XV. His hunt paintings are depicted with great vivacity. He is unmatched in his representation of hounds and hunting scenes, as well as in his meticulous realism of sumptuous still lifes. Desportes’ work is distinguished by his meticulous study of nature. This painting is closely related to two other works by the artist, Summer and Autumn, in the collection of the Louvre. The work may have been begun in France and completed during the artist’s six-month stay in England, beginning in December 1712, when he accompanied a diplomatic embassy to the court of Queen Anne. It is signed and dated 1713. Typically, the artist has crowded the still-life elements and hounds in the foreground, opening up the vista to a broad landscape at right.