Lot 28
  • 28

David Teniers the Younger

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
254,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • David Teniers the Younger
  • Peasants playing nine-pins outside an inn, the city of Antwerp in the distance
  • signed lower left: D. TENIERS
  • oil on oak panel


Von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen family, Wurttemberg, Bavaria (their arms on the reverse);
G. Cornwall Legh, by 1857;
By descent to Col. Henry Cornwall Legh, by 1882;
Sir Joseph Robinson Bt. (1840–1929), purchased from the above in 1895 along with other Dutch and Flemish works;
His sale, London, Christie's, 6 July 1923, lot 92;
Bought back and by descent to his daughter Princess Ida Louise Labia;
Her sale, London, Sotheby's, 27 March 1963, lot 24;
With David Koetser, Zurich;
Acquired from the above by the late owners in 1979 for 220,000 Swiss francs.


Manchester, Art Treasures, 1857, no. 1018;
London, British Institution, 1867, no. 114;
London, Royal Academy, 1882, no. 59;
London, Royal Academy, Paintings from the collection of the late Sir J.B. Robinson, Bt., now in the possession of the Princess Labia, 1958, no. 57;
Cape Town, National Gallery of South Africa, The Joseph Robinson Collection, 1959, no. 28; 
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Sammlung Sir Joseph Robinson, 18401929: Werke europäischer Malerei vom 15. bis 19. Jahrhundert, 17 August  16 September, 1962, no. 19.


H. Cornwall Legh, Catalogue of the Collection of Paintings at High Legh Hall, the seat of Lieut.-Col. Henry Cornwall Legh, J.P., D.L. for Cheshire, Birmingham 1890, pp. 70-71, no. 23, reproduced p. 71;
A. Graves, A Century of Loan Exhibitions, London 1914, vol. III, pp. 1295, 1298;
M. Klinge, David Teniers the Younger, exhibition catalogue, Antwerp 1991, p. 20, reproduced p. 21, fig. 10;
M. Klinge, David Teniers der Jüngere 1610–1690, exhibition catalogue, Karlsruhe 2005, p. 37, reproduced fig. 14.

Catalogue Note

Depicting one of the artist’s most loved and recognisable subjects, this small panel, from Teniers’ most fertile period, the 1640s, once formed part of the eminent collection of Sir Joseph Robinson at Dudley House at the turn of the last century.

This painting is datable to the beginning of the artist's mature period in mid-1640s. It was precisely this type of genre scene that established Teniers' high reputation in Antwerp, which resulted in his appointment as Dean of the Guild of Saint Luke in 1644–45, as well as the award of a number of highly prestigious commissions, such as the large group portrait of the Arquebusiers of 1643, today in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

The 1640s saw Teniers lift the tone of his palette away from the darker scenes of the prior decade, when he had been influenced by Adriaen Brouwer, towards something more optimisitic and colourful. His subject matter too, becomes a little more idealistic. Here, in a peaceful setting on a rise on the outskirts of Antwerp, the first of three players takes aim at the nine skittles, or pins, ahead of him, while his opponents wait patiently behind. A very similar scene, from a similar date, though depicting the game of bowls rather than nine-pins, was sold in these Rooms, 5 July 2006, lot 2.

Most great collections are compiled over a matter of generations, even centuries; not so that of Sir Joseph Robinson, architect of the South African diamond and gold mining industries. Between 1895 and 1900 he amassed a truly great collection of Old Masters, the focus on Dutch, Flemish and British works, but with a smattering of superb Italian and Spanish paintings too. Settling with his family in London in 1894 he purchased Dudley House in Park Lane from 11th Lord Ward and, with it, its magnificent but empty picture gallery. It took him just six or seven years to fill it.

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.