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A Boy Blowing on a Firebrand to Light a Candle

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A Boy Blowing on a Firebrand to Light a Candle About 1692 - 1698

Not on display

Night scenes like this were particularly popular amongst Dutch artists, and Schalken specialised in this subject. Although the exact meaning of the boy with a firebrand is not known today, it derived from a painting by the Italian artist Jacopo Bassano and was also enthusiastically adopted by El Greco, who incorporated the motif in his ‘Allegory’ (NG 2419) which is also in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery. It is likely that Schalcken executed this painting for Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, while visiting Althorp during the period he spent in Britain.


  • Acc. No. NG 2495
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 75.00 x 63.50 cm (framed: 83.20 x 78.70 x 9.50 cm)
  • Credit Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund 1989