THE PROPERTY OF A CHARITABLE FAMILY FOUNDATION
This delightful Teniers was one of the first acquisitions, being part of a group of important Dutch and Flemish works purchased from the Cornwall Legh collection in 1895. Knighted in 1908 in recognition of his public service and role in developing the diamond and gold mining industries, Robinson sold Dudley House in 1910 and moved the contents to a property off the Bayswater road. At the age of eighty-five, in 1923, he took the decision to sell his collection at Christie’s. However, upon arriving at the auction rooms the night before, wheelchair-bound, in order to say a final goodbye to his beloved pictures, he fell in love with them all over again and proceeded to apply prohibitively high reserves on the lots so that, in the end, just twelve of the one hundred and sixteen lots found buyers, and the remainder, including the present Teniers, returned to store. Upon his death in 1929, it and the rest passed to his daughter Ida, Princess Labia, who left them undisturbed in London until 1958, when eight-four, including the Teniers, were exhibited at the Royal Academy.
The 1857 Art Treasures exhibition catalogue states the painting to have previously resided in the collection of Sir George Warrender Bt. and to have been catalogued by John Smith as no. 422. While Smith 422 is indeed a picture from the collection of George Warrender, it represents a scene entirely different to the present view. This painting would appear therefore not to have been catalogued by Smith, unless it is no. 682 whose measurements and elaborate description (of nine skittles players) is a match, if one allows for an inversion of left and right.
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