A Trompe l'oeil of Newspapers, Letters and Writing Implements on a Wooden Board

Image credit: Tate

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Trompe l'oeil pieces (or 'deceptions' as they were commonly called) were among the most popular paintings to be found in the collections of well-to-do English households of the seventeenth century. Their practitioners were chiefly painters from the Low Countries, of which Collier was one. Although often contemplative in nature, their main objective was to startle the eye with a virtuoso ability to create the illusion of graspable objects in paint. The trompe l'oeil letter rack with notes, newspapers, writing implements, seals and combs was one of Collier's favourite, and most commercially popular, subjects. Many variations of it are known, with similar objects slightly differently arranged but always with different dates and printed texts.


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More information

A Trompe l'oeil of Newspapers, Letters and Writing Implements on a Wooden Board




Oil on canvas


H 58.8 x W 46.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased 1984

Work type