Decorative Wall Panel with Musical Instruments

On display in:

Panelled Room

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artist or maker

Deneux, Dieudonné (d.1786)

Date

c 1768

dated by comparable work in Société libre d'Emulation à Liège

Place of production

  • Liège, Wallonia, Belgium

Medium

  • oil on canvas

Type of object

  • panels (surface components)
  • paintings

Accession number

744.2

One of nine painted panels with floral motifs and trophies. Almost square panel with outside blue-green border around a gold cartouche composed of rocaille C-scrolls and S-scrolls with palm fronds in the upper and lower corners and columns ofpalm fronds with architectural capitals on the lateral sides. A rocaille oval appears at upper centre and at lower centre.

Depending from a loop at the upper centre of the cartouche hangs a trophy on a ribbon and two flower garlands that wind down the sides of the cartouche. The trophy is composed of a basket of flowers and musical instruments including a lute, pipes, a musical score, a drum and a tambourine. Further flowers hang round the trophy. The trophy is set against a grey background.

Commentary

One of nine decorative panels that decorated the Garden Bedroom at Waddeson Manor (now Panelled Room). The panel to the left of the door (acc. no. 744.1) is signed by Dieudonné Deneux, a decorative painter from Liège. They demonstrate Deneux's familiarity with the latest Parisian fashions.

Much of Deneux's work has been lost. It is known that he painted for religious, civic and private patrons in Liège. A surviving scheme dated 1768, now in the headquarters of the Société libre d'Emulation of Liège, is remarkably similar to the panels at Waddesdon, and was probably painted around the same time. The scheme included five large canvases of trophies set within a border of shell and plant motifs painted in the rococo style (see Pierre-Yves Kairis, 'Note sur Dieudonné Deneux et ses peintures du bâtiment de la Société libre d'Emulation à Liège', "Société libre d'Emulation. Bulletin d'information", 31, (2003): 13-15).

Marie-Christine Merch ('La peinture décorative à caractère civil au pays de Liège au XVIIIe siècle', mémoire de licence en histoire de l'art et archéologie (Université de Liège, 1981), pp. 74-75, 89-98) has shown that Deneux was inspired by motifs created by the French ornamental designer Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1789). Delafosse published 'Nouvelle Iconologie historique ou Attributs hiéroglyphiques qui ont pour objets les Elemens, les Saisons, les Quatre parties du Monde, et les diverses complexions de l'Homme' in 1767. The trophies painted by Deneux are based on Delafosse's designs featuring attributes of love, music and pastoral life. Unlike Delafosse's prints, Deneux's compositions do not have symbolic allusions. His trophies of garden tools, fruit, and musical instruments are merely decorative. Deneux's use of Delafosse's designs shows his familiarity with the latest Parisian styles.

It is believed that the panels were always in the Garden Bedroom, and indeed the pastoral themes of the panels appear to have given the room its name. However, they do not appear in either the inventories of Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1898 or of his sister Alice in 1922. This suggests that they were not considered to be particularly valuable.

Phillippa Plock, 2012

Physical description

Dimensions (mm) / weight (mg)

2300 x 1900 (sight size)

Signature & date

not signed or dated

History

Provenance

  • Acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898); inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon (National Trust) in 1957.

Collection

  • Waddesdon (National Trust)