About this artwork

This small painting on copper shows musical instruments, books with well-thumbed pages, an hour-glass, and a clock on a table with a colourful patterned cloth. All the objects relate to the popular still life theme of ‘vanitas’, which refers to the transience of life. Two stringed instruments, an upturned lute in the background and a small bowed instrument known as a pochette or kit in the foreground, together with an oboe, symbolise the ephemeral nature of music. The hour-glass and clock record time’s passage. At the top left is the artist's monogram. On the other side of the copper sheet is an unfinished painting of a man's head.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Still-life with Musical Instruments
  • date created:
  • attributed to:
    Pieter Roestraeten (about 1631 - 1700) Dutch
  • materials:
    Oil on copper
  • measurements:
    39.30 x 58.00 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequest of the 11th Marquess of Lothian 1941
  • accession number:
    NG 1937
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • artwork photographed by:
    Antonia Reeve
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