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Provenance
Joseph N. Paton (+), Wooers-Alley, Dunfermline; sale, Chapman, Edinburgh, 6-9 Nov.1874, lot 413, as 'Dutch domestic scene'
Purchased at the sale by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th. Bt. (1818-1878), and thence by descent at Keir

Lot Essay

Georges Marlier (Pierre Brueghel le Jeune, 1969, pp.346-7) discusses five variants of this composition, to which a sixth, in Budapest, is added by Jacqueline Folie (idem, p.347, note 4). One of these formed part of a set of five pictures of stages in a village wedding, sold at Galerie Giroux, Brussels, 15 Dec. 1930, lots 30-34. Marlier (idem, pp.342-3) convincingly attributes this set to Martin van Cleve (1527-1581), although of three of the compositions versions signed by Pieter Brueghel the Younger are known (see idem, figs.211 and 212, and the picture sold in these Rooms, 29 Nov.1974, lot 24). The ascription to Martin van Cleve of the prototype of the present composition is supported by Jacqueline Folie, who describes the Budapest variant as his work. The series may originally
have included a sixth subject, of which a painting in the style of Martin van Cleve but apparently bearing a Brueghel signature and the date 1630, was sold in Paris in 1964 (idem, p.347)

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