While researching eighteenth-century paintings to support Making a Reading Table – Part One, I came across another painting by Arthur Devis titled The Duet, painted in 1749. The painting clearly demonstrates the bare floorboards of a well appointed room, but I decided not to include the image in the earlier post.
However, I couldn’t let this image go without commenting on it. Devis specialised in painting high society figures and wealthy families. The Duet depicts an obviously wealthy couple; why then does the bottom left window pane appear to have been papered over?
Even if the pane was broken, surely Devis would have spared his client the ignominy and not portrayed it as such – unless he was disgruntled with this patron. Perhaps payments weren’t forthcoming or he felt aggrieved in some other way and decided to take a liberty. If that were the case, why didn’t the sitter/owner have that small area of the painting retouched by another artist?