18th-Century Group Portrait With Family Playing Backgammon

18th-Century Group Portrait With Family Playing Backgammon

A fine late 18th-century group portrait depicting a family playing backgammon. It’s an unusual piece with an intriguing mystery to unravel.

Firstly, it’s rare to find a group portrait of three figures playing backgammon - so why did the artist opt for this composition? Often, you’ll find a family depicted within a room as this can highlight their wealth and status. But on this occasion, the background is a simple one with the focus on the table. The backgammon pieces are observed very well and you can even read the numbers on each dice.

Secondly, it’s tempting to consider that there was originally a fourth figure between the daughter and the mother. It’s easy to imagine a son standing with his right hand resting on his mother’s arm. Or another daughter with her left arm around her sister. But if this is the case, then why were they painted out? A family scandal perhaps?

Our research continues and we’d be delighted to hear your views. The painting is unsigned but we’re exploring whether it could be a work by Danish artist, Vigilius Eriksen (1722-1782).

Please note that this painting will need to be crated if shipped overseas. A cost for the crate will be added on during checkout.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 50” x 40” / 130cm x 101cm
Year of creation: c. 1770
Provenance: Sweden
Condition: Generally very presentable following a light restoration. Craquelure is present throughout but the paint is stable. Frame with some scuff and abrasions.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

Stay In Touch
Subscribe to our Wednesday newsletter for the latest finds and 10% off your order.