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Originally from Wiltshire, Blake worked for most of his life in London, producing small, gem-like larder and game pieces redolent of country life. This represents a larder with a hung heron and drake, a pigeon on the shelf, rough country vessels, and a riding crop and a key hanging on the wall. Together with a coat of arms on the carved shelf, all these combine to suggest the wholesome lifestyle of a well-run if somewhat rustic manor house. The piece harks back to seventeenth-century Netherlandish prototypes and it is no suprise to learn that Blake was employed by dealers to copy old Dutch pictures, some of which were not sold under his own name.

August 2004