Studio of Frans Snyders (Antwerp 1579-1657)
Studio of Frans Snyders (Antwerp 1579-1657)

The Cock and The Pearl

Studio of Frans Snyders (Antwerp 1579-1657)
The Cock and The Pearl
oil on canvas
66 5/8 x 94½ in. (169 x 240 cm.)
Thomas, Lord Coningsby (d. 1729), Hampton Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, where mentioned by William Stukeley in his Itinerarium curiosum (London, 1724) as hanging in 1714 in the Great Hall, and by descent at Hampton Court until 1810, when sold with the house to the following,
Richard Arkwright (1755-1843), and by descent at Hampton Court until 1912, when sold with the house to,
Mrs. Nancy Burrell, until 1924, when sold with the house to,
Mary Anna, Viscountess Hereford (1843-1924), and by descent to her grandson,
Robert Devereux, 18th Viscount Hereford (1932-2004).
Anonymous sale [The Property of a Nobleman]; Christie's, London, 13 December 1996, lot 302.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 2 November 2001, lot 13 (£30,550), when acquired by the present owner.

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Freddie De Rougemont
Freddie De Rougemont

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Lot Essay

Thomas, Lord Coningsby, formed a substantial collection of pictures, including the celebrated series of views of Hampton Court now in the Mellon Collection. These complemented his Gothic remodelling of the house and remained there until 1973.

A version by Snyders showing only the central part of the composition is in the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen (98.5 x 95 cm.; see H. Robels, Frans Snyders, Munich, 1989, pp. 309-10, no. 202, illustrated). The landscape in the present picture is by another hand, close to Jan Wildens.

The subject is taken from the Fable of Phædrus, III, 12: 'A young cockerel was looking for food in the manure when he found a pearl there. "What a thing you are to be lying in such an unworthy place!" he exclaimed. "If only someone who longed to possess something of such value had found you, you would long since have been restored to your original splendour. But instead it is I who have found you, when I would have much preferred to find some food: this is not going to do you or me any good at all." This is a story I tell for those who do not know how to appreciate me [i.e. Precious things are for those that can appreciate them]'.

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