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Games feature in the long tradition of paintings of everyday life, beginning in sixteenth-century Flemish art where popular scenes of village festivals often include somewhat riotous games. Children playing games or with their toys, in the street or at home, have also always had a special appeal to artists; toys are often featured in their portraits.

Flemish paintings also include fascinating depictions of inns and their games, the origins of the pub games familiar to older readers, such as in Ostade’s Courtyard of an Inn with a Game of Shuffleboard. Card games with their potential for dramatic scenes of cheating have also had a particular attraction. At home, more peaceful games of chess and other board games have been depicted.