Acquired by the family of the present owner circa 1900
The present work relates very closely to the painting of the same subject and year that Jiménez y Aranda exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1881. A great admirer of Ernest Meissonier's finely executed genre scenes, in the present composition the artist captures the scene with the delicate harmony and eye for detail which earnt him the nickname the 'Spanish Meissonier'.
The panel is flat and even, and has been extended with circa 1cm strips joined along all four edges, on to which the artist has continued the composition. There has been some scattered paint flaking along these joins at the edges (not visible in the catalogue illustration). Ultraviolet light reveals some scattered minor retouches, notably intermittently along the panel joins at extreme left and upper edges, a spot in the wrist of the man playing chess and some minor spots in the wall in the center of the composition. The discoloured varnish flouresces opaquely and obscures a clear reading of the surface under ultraviolet light.
The varnish is yellower and more discoloured than in the catalogue illustration and the painting's appearance would be transformed with a surface clean; apart from this, some light frame scattered rubbing, and a handful of faint hairline old diagonal scratches in the background in the centre of the composition (just visible in the catalogue illustration), overall the work is in good original condition.
Held in a decorative gilt wood and plaster frame, with floral motifs, which has some scattered losses to the ornaments. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."