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This peculiar object is a perspective box – a rectangular wooden cabinet painted on the inside and outside, and open on one end to let in light. The inside is painted in such a way that it’s only when we peer through a peephole – there’s one on either side of the cabinet – that we see the illusion of a three-dimensional seventeenth-century Dutch house. The rooms are quiet: one woman lies asleep in bed, while another reads in a chair. The only other living being in the house is a dog, though a man outside peeks in through a window.
Oil and egg on wood
H 58 x W 88 cm
Presented by Sir Robert and Lady Witt through The Art Fund, 1924