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‘Rendes-vous de chasse’ was originally conceived as another fête galante, with a château in the centre and a seated woman on the right. The hunstmen and their accoutrements, which now transform the scene into a ‘Hunting Party’, were added at a later stage. They were plucked by the artist from earlier sources; the group of gentlemen helping the lady to dimount appears in Callot’s famous engraving ‘The Impruneta Fair’, the young man standing with a gun and four dogs on the left is copied from an engraving by Pietro Testa and Watteau’s own early works provided the quotations of the dead hare, partridges and horses on the right. The resulting composition is strangely anomalous: some figures appear in seventeenth century costume, others in dress more appropriate to the fashionable salon, and little reference to the hunt is made in either costume or activity.
oil on canvas
H 124.5 x W 189 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1865; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897