Peter Angellis

Conversation Piece

c.1715–20

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 937 x 797 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1965
Reference
T00789

Display caption

Though the title has, for modern audiences, polite implications, this scene in rich surroundings is one of unrestrained revelry, including drunkenness and sexual encounters with prostitutes. It belongs to a Netherlandish tradition of slightly disreputable ‘merry company’ subjects, which emphasise lax morality and the squandering of wealth.

Angellis was born in Dunkirk and came to England in about 1716. He settled in Covent Garden, a newly developed area of London which became the heart of the artistic community.

Gallery label, February 2004

Catalogue entry

T00789 Conversation Piece c. 1715–20

Oil on canvas, painted surface 937×797 (36 5/8×31 15/16), relined on canvas 945×802 (37 1/4×31 5/8)

Inscribed ‘PAngelles’ (initials in monogram) bottom centre

Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1965

PROVENANCE ...; Mrs E.H. Peacocke; R.M. Sabin, sold 1945 to Knoedler by whom sold anon.,

Sotheby's 7 December 1960(73) bt Colnaghi, from whom bt by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1965

EXHIBITED The Conversation Piece in Georgian England, Kenwood 1965 (1)

Previously entitled ‘The Marriage Contract’. It is doubtful whether this is in fact the subject, and it has also been suggested that it might be a scene from a play. The museum of the Nederlands Theater Institut in Amsterdam dates the picture to the 1730s (letter from J.W. Niemeijer of the Rijksmuseum), but this seems too late. Robert Raines (letter of 29 September 1985) likens the picture to ‘The Sculptor's Studio’ of 1716 in Stockholm and therefore to work done before the most probable date for the artist's arrival in England. However, the exclusively English provenance, in so far as it goes, gives slight support to a dating during Angellis's first years in England.

On the back there is a label of the 1954–5 RA exhibition, European Masters of the Eighteenth Century,

but in the event the picture was not hung.


Published in:
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988

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