This work is an exciting rediscovery as it does not appear to have been traced or exhibited since it was sold by McLean, Godward's dealer, in 1890. It has remained in the possession of the present vendor for several decades.
The game of knuckle bones was played all over the ancient world, and its popularity continued until the nineteenth century. In this early work Godward displays his virtuosity in describing various textures and fabrics. Each tessera of the mosaic is delineated with painstaking exactitude, and the contrasting textures of marble, tiger skin and drapery are painted with remarkable skill.
We are grateful to Professor Vern Swanson for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.