|Title||The Temptation of St Anthony|
|Alternative Title||Temptations of St Anthony|
|Collection||National Trust for Scotland (Brodick Castle)|
|Artist||Teniers, David, II (Flemish painter, 1610-1690)|
|Date Earliest||probably about 1630|
|Description||Paintings of the Temptation of St Anthony make up a significant proportion of Teniers's oeuvre, and constitute the largest group amongst his religious works. The artist explored the theme throughout his career and over a period of thirty years, from around the mid-1630s to the mid-1660s, produced between one and two hundred variations on the subject. Teniers re-used and adapted the same iconography and motifs again and again. The panel at Brodick contains much imagery that reappears in variation in other works. St Anthony is represented as an old man in monk's habit, with the Greek letter tau on his shoulder. He is shown in a dark grotto, signifying the tombs he withdrew to as a hermit, the meagre furnishings of which include an hourglass (held tauntingly by one of the demons), books and a skull - references to his learning and devotion to monastic life, with its ideals of endless contemplation of eternity and frailty of human life. A flask of water, here on the window sill, was commonly used by Teniers as a symbol of Anthony's asceticism. Popular motifs employed in countless other paintings include demons in form of lions, serpents and dragons, some dressed in monk's habits, as well as other creatures associated with the devil, such as frogs, bats, crabs and 'serras' or flying fish. The unusual motif of a defecating egg, bearing a chicken's head and feet, appears in nearly all of Tenier's 'Temptations' - here shown fouling the saint's drinking water, perched on the rim of the jug.|
|Current Accession Number||Pending|
|Inscription||front lr 'D. TENIERS. FEC'|
|Subject||religion (St Anthony); figure; still life|
|Measurements||24.8 x 18.6 cm cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on panel|
|Acquisition Details||Accepted by Her Majesty's Treasury on death of Mary Louise Hamilton, Duchess of Montrose, in 1957, in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated by her express wish to The National Trust for Scotland, as part of the Brodick Castle estate.|
|Provenance||Horace Walpole sale, comprising the contents of Strawberry Hill, 25 April 1842, day thirteen, lot 44; purchased by William Beckford (1760-1844); his daughter Susan Euphemia Beckford, Duchess of Hamilton (d. 1859), wife of Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton (d. 1852); by descent to her grandson, William, 12th Duke of Hamilton (d. 1895); under the terms of a Trust Disposition and Settlement of 1893, to his only child Mary Louise Hamilton, later Duchess of Montrose.|
|Publications||Klinge, Margret, David Teniers de Jonge, Antwerpen Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 1991, cat. nos 9, 41, 90.|
Inscriptions: 1) black pen, back: 'Teniers'; 2) blue chalk, back: '2'; 3) pencil, frame: 'No 14'; 4) pencil, frame: '43', '64'; 5) pencil, back: '33'. Collectors' marks and stamps: red wax seal, circular, with three herons' heads encircled, flanked by two herons and surmounted by a coronet. Labels: 1) paper label, brown ink, frame: 'Teniers'; 2) paper label, printed, frame: '35'.
Inventories: Inventory and Valuation […] of Nos 10 and 20 Lansdown Cresecent Bath, The Tower, on Lansdown and Farm and Premises all adjoining – the property of the late William Thomas Beckford Esqr […], Sept 13th 1844, Edmund English & Sons, Bath, and Robert Hume, London, 1844 (Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS. Beckford c. 58, p. 20), as Temptation of St Anthony by D. Teniers; List of Pictures, Furniture, Ornaments, China & c. sent from Bath to Easton Park, 1848-1849 (NRAS 332/M/12/50, p. 2), as The Temptation of St Anthony by D. Teniers; Easton Park, Suffolk. A True and Perfect Inventory and Appraisement of All and singular the Household Furniture, Plate, Linen, China, Books, Prints, Pictures, Jewels, Trinkets, Wine and other the Personal Effects of The Most Noble His Grace The Duke of Hamilton K.G. (at the Mansion at Easton Park in the County of Suffolk in the Diocese of Norwich) who died on the 18th day of August 1852. Taken and made on the 13th and following days of September then next ensuring By Robert Cana and William Cana, Appraisers (NRAS 332/M/12/52, vol. 2, p. 17); as Temptations of St Anthony by Teniers; Valuation for Probate of the Contents of Brodick Castle [...] the property of the Arran and Easton Trustees (in the sense of the Hamilton Estates Act, 1918) and of her late Grace Mary Louise, Duchess of Montrose [...], 1957, Christie, Manson and Woods Ltd, London, 1957 (Brodick Castle, p. 15), as The Temptation of St Anthony by David Teniers the younger; List of pictures photographed at Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran, property of the late Duchess of Montrose, Private Collection Survey, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 1958, ref. B/5028, as Temptation of St Anthony by David Teniers; Ostergard, Derek (ed.), William Beckford: An Eye for the Magnificent, New York, 2002, p. 248, n. 139; Davidson, Jane P., David Teniers the Younger, London, 1979;
The Brodick painting bears particular comparison with a painting in the Musée du Louvre (inv. no. MI 991), which is similar in both handling and scale, measuring 22 x 16.4 cm. The scene is set in the same enclosed grotto, lit by a window to left on the sill of which is a jug with a defecating egg perched on the rim. The positioning of St Anthony's table, and other details are also similar to the Brodick composition. Another larger painting (63 x 50 cm) set in a similar interior, but with greater compositional differences, is also in the Louvre's collection (inv. no. 1880).
Other well documented, but larger and more elaborate, compositions include those in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden (inv. no. 1079), the Museo del Prado, Madrid (inv. no. 1822) and the Koninklijk Museum van Schoone Kunsten, Antwerp.
Beckford's letters reveal his devotion to St Anthony. The theme of St Anthony's temptations was much favoured by him, and he owned a number of works by various artists on the subject.
The Brodick painting should not be confused with another picture by Teniers of the Temptation of St Anthony, which is recorded in the Old Dining Room of Hamilton Palace in 1835, valued at £30. The same picture is recorded again in 1853, in a manuscript list of the paintings at Hamilton Palace, compiled after the death of the 10th Duke of Hamilton; and again in an inventory of 1876, attributed to 'David Teniers', in 'Miss Stewart's Room'. A pencil annotation alongside notes that 'none of the pictures in this room are to be sold'. The picture was eventually sold in the final Hamilton Palace sale of 6 November 1919, Christie's, London, lot 68.
|Rights Owner||The National Trust for Scotland|