The present works, including the set of four canvases offered in the following lot, relate to one of the most celebrated series of rocaille décor of 18th Century France. Lajoue painted thirteen allegories of the Arts and Sciences for the cabinet of Michel Ferdinand d'Albert d'Ailly, duc de Picquigny (1714-1769), who later became duc de Chaulnes. The paintings were first placed in the Duc's hôtel particulier on the rue du Bac and later moved to the Hôtel de Chaulnes, on the rue d'Enfer, near the Luxembourg Palace.
Their fame was largely due to the publication of engravings by Cochin in 1737-8 and later by Tardieu, and were much copied. Some of Lajoue's models were even used for marquetry designs: Optics, for example, appears on the Cabinet de Beaumarchais at Waddesdon Manor.