19th-Century French School Miniature, Two Priests Relaxing With Drinks

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An unusual miniature depicting two French Roman Catholic priests relaxing with a few drinks. They know each other well and seem to be sharing a moment of humour.

The details are exquisite and best viewed under magnification. Even the framed picture on the wall is perfectly rendered and there’s a tiny jewellery box on the table.

This could be a 19th-century copy of a larger piece but we’ve been unable to find any other versions. If it’s an original, it’s intriguing to consider how the artist managed to capture such a candid moment.

Medium
Oil on wood
Overall size 
5” x 3” / 12cm x 8cm
Year of creation
c. 1850
Provenance
France
Condition
A few paint losses and some scuffing but many of the imperfections are due to the wood itself, which had bumps and a rough surface when it was originally used. There’s an area towards the top in which some darker paint has gathered but this is as the artist intended.