1743 - 1808
The Card Players

Etching laid on paper
Image size: 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches (8 x 8 cm)

This etching is after a work by Adriaen van Ostade, a 17th century Dutch artist.

This wonderful etching shows a group of five men playing a game of cards around a small rickety table. The group is made up from a selection of colourful characters, all fully immersed in the activity. The detail of the scene is breathtaking, note the coins and pipe on the table to the fallen cards by the men’s feet.

This scene of rural life exudes exemplifies Ostade’s youthful style and the type of low-life scenes he produce during the first phase of his career. The artist devoted hundreds of canvases and panels to depicting rural folk enjoying a dance or a drink, singing songs, and enjoying the pleasures of the pipe.

This style of figure-group is typical of Adriaen van Ostade’s work form the 1650s onwards. Scenes of groups of peasant figures often captured at ease outside country buildings – often inns – formed a substantial part of Adriaen van Ostafe’s etched oeuvre. However, this is a scene of an interior – framed by two walls the group of men seem to have grouped here to escape from the cold, on the chair in the right foreground sits a pair of gloves recently taken off.

David Deuchar

David Deuchar was a seal engraver and amateur etcher from Edinburgh. He and his brother Alexander Deuchar were appointed Seal-Engravers to the Prince of Wales ca. 1786. In 1803 Deuchar published three volumes ‘A Collection of Etchings after Masters of the Dutch and Flemish School’ that included works after artists such as Ostade and Rembrandt.

Deuchar’s works can now be found in the collection of the Royal Academy, the National Gallery of Art and the V&A.