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Still life of fruit and a pie on a table

The Royal Collection has a stunning collection of seventeenth century Dutch art

Willem van Aelst (Delft 1625/6-Amsterdam after 1683)

Dead Game with Trophies of the Chase 1657

Oil on canvas | 105.8 x 89.9 cm | RCIN 403984

Cumberland Bedchamber, Hampton Court Palace

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The subjects of still-life paintings vary but most concentrate on specific categories of object ranging from food, flowers, game, or luxury items. Artists often became specialised in one area.

Here, the owner of the work is an aristocratic hunter, with a fine hunting horn and dagger (with rock-crystal handle) both complete with sashes and tassels. He has also the hood for a falcon, so he must go hawking as well as shooting. The booty of the hunt is proudly displayed on a partially draped marble slab and hung from a nail above: a jungle fowl, a wader, finches, a kingfisher and a partridge.