This information is ©
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2017
"The Scullery Maid" 1738
CRE CHARDIN, Jean-Simeon; (French;1699-1779)
oil on canvas
45.7 x 36.9
71.0 x 64.0 x 10.0
signed and dated centre left: 'chardin / 1738'
This painting is one of a pair bequeathed by the Hunterian's founder: the pendant is The Cellar Boy. Hunter's collection includes three striking examples of Chardin's work. Frustratingly, we know nothing of the provenance of this pair of genre paintings. Both were popular compositions with 18th-century French collectors, and the artist painted at least four versions of each. When Hunter acquired his pair, he must have been aware of the popularity of the images, which were engraved by C.N. Cochin before 1740. Other British collectors who succumbed to the 'realist' charms of French artists included Horace Walpole. In fact, Walpole's 'Woman Cleaning Copper' by Watteau (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg), purchased at the Coke sale in 1769, may even have been Chardin's starting point for The Scullery Maid.
Although Chardin's name was not deemed worthy of mention in Reynolds's Discourses, Hunter's purchases were by no means adventurous. As his art advisor and friend Robert Strange would have told him, variants of the Cellar Boy and Scullery Maid, were in the collection of the Comte de Vence until 1764, when they were bought by Madame de Pompadour, who was Louis XV's mistress. Both figures are pausing from their work in thought and the artist may have intended to represent meditation.
Bequeathed by Dr William Hunter, 1783
FIGURE : FEMALE : INDUSTRY : DOMESTIC : FRENCH : MAID : SCULLERY : KITCHEN : CLEANING : DOMESTICITY : HUNTER 2007 : ON DISPLAY :