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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

83: The market stall

The market stall

The bare branches silhouetted against the lead-grey sky at top right indicate that it is Winter, as does the seasonal produce for sale. Baskets of dried fish, chestnuts, and medlars lie on the table while dried onions, crimped stockfish, and two lustrous gingerbread shapes hang on the wall. The upper one is a stag with spectacular antlers; the lower one is a militiaman, the latter made from a mould similar to that displayed in the adjacent case. Gingerbread was traditionally made by Dutch families for the Feast of St Nicholas or Sinterklaas (Santa Claus), celebrated the evening before (5th December).

Willem van Mieris (1662–1747)

Leiden, Netherlands, c.1730 Oil on panel

Founder’s Bequest, 1816 (36)

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