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Table with a cloth, salt cellar, gilt tazza, pie, jug, porcelain dish with olives, and roast fowl
Peeters, Clara
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Peeters, Clara

Antwerp (?), 1588 - Antwerp (?), 1621

Peeters, Clara See author's file

Table with a cloth, salt cellar, gilt tazza, pie, jug, porcelain dish with olives, and roast fowl

Ca. 1611. Oil on panel.
Room 082

This painting was first recorded in 1746 in the Spanish royal collection, together with Still life with Flowers, Gilt Goblet, Almonds, Dried Fruits, Sweets, Biscuits, Wine and a Pewter Flagon (P1620). The two paintings remained in the royal collection until they entered the Prado. The suggestion made in the past that this and three other paintings in the Prado (P1619, P1620 y P1621) formed a series of four is unlikely given their separate provenance.

Notable food and tableware lay on a table covered by a square-creased linen damask cloth, with a design pattern visible in dark and light shades. This type of expensive table linen was exported from the Southern Netherlands to the rest of Europe. Its presence here implies a wealthy and neat household. It is meticulously painted, as is characteristic of Clara Peeters. The pewter plates, the elaborate gilt standing cup, the roemer glass, bread roll and elaborate knife (probably a wedding gift), as well as the salt cellar and the porcelain plate are all also present in other pictures by Peeters. The outlines of the etched silver cylinder salt cellar and the roemer are so similar in the paintings where they are repeated that they must have been painted with the use of the same mechanical aid, perhaps a stencil. Once the outlines of the salt cellar were drawn in the different paintings, Peeters changed the position of its feet and of the pattern etched on its surface in order to avoid an impression of repetition. Antwerp inventories of the sixteenth century list salt cellars made of wood or pewter, but the best were made of silver decorated with scenes or patterns. Salt cellars had been among the most prized objects at dining tables for centuries due to the cost of salt before the existence of industrial methods of production. We can still find traces of this past importance in our language. The word ‘salary’ derives from the Latin ‘salarium’, which described payment with salt in ancient Rome. Place names such as Salzburg also derive from the word salt. Important centres of salt production existed in Cyprus, Ibiza, Setúbal and southern France and also in the Caribbean. Among the many and crucial uses of salt are a few that apply to objects in the still lifes of Clara Peeters: it was used to preserve meat and fish such as herring, and to make cheese and prepare olives. The refined salt from a salt cellar placed at a dining table was taken by each guest with the tip of a knife such as the one in this painting, and put on the individual trenchers.

The kraak porcelain vessel that holds the olives is the same that Peeters included in other paintings. Its blue colour had faded in this and some other versions, due to the cobalt-based pigment used, and to the thin paint layer. Kraak ware was made for export during the reigns of Wanli (1573–1620) and his successors in the Jiangxi province of China. It was collected in Brussels by the archdukes Isabel Clara Eugenia and Albert of Austria, the rulers of the Southern Netherlands (their palace had a chamber known as the ‘caemer vande porceleynen’), and at a smaller scale also in Antwerp. Even though not extremely expensive, porcelain brings a cosmopolitan outlook to the still lifes of Peeters. The light-coloured pitcher in the back is a type of vessel that was made in Siegburg, in the Rhine region of Western Germany. The formal relations that are set in motion between the jagged patterns of the surface of this jug, and of the pie just in front of it, are among the outstanding features of this painting. The large pie occupies the centre of the table. The pattern on its top is similar to one in a painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder (P1404) which probably reflects the type of product that came out of the kitchens of the Archduke’s palaces. In the late sixteenth century pies went from being disposable containers of fillings to elaborate items of food with latticework covers and ornate rims designed to be fully eaten. They were made with fine flour, and had water and butter as their basic ingredients. Inside these baked pies could be meats or fish with condiments, and also fruits.

The olives are probably of the abundant manzanilla variety, from southern and southwestern Spain, and they were a luxury in the north of Europe. They were also considered healthy. Ludovicus Nonnius, in his book Diaeteticon, published in Antwerp in 1627, wrote that olives were nourishing and also that they were useful for stimulating appetite if this was necessary. Olives are present in the allegorical banquet painting by Brueghel mentioned earlier. Another food in this painting that was imported is the orange. They had traditionally come from Italy, Portugal and Spain, and were used to make preserves and for sauces; sweet oranges were used for their juice. The roasted fowl on the pewter plate are probably pheasants, which were used and maintained for hunting (they may also be francolin, a bird related to the partridge, sometimes known as black partridge). A game bird gives this table an elevated status because of its association with hunting. It was probably for hunting that pheasants were sent from Brussels by the infant Isabel Clara Eugenia to her brother Philip III with instructions on their behaviour and how to keep them. An English recipe for roasting pheasants included orange mixed with egg yolk. Perhaps this was also common in the Southern Netherlands, and explains the presence of an orange on this table.

This still life includes the same types of objects that we see in paintings by Frans Snyders (1579–1657) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) two of the leading artists in Antwerp at the time when Clara Peeters was active. All three painters translated the material culture of the elites of the Southern Netherlands into art. Peeters chose a different style than her colleagues: instead of the exuberant formal language that they preferred, her paintings are more realistic and restrained.

Dendrochronological analysis indicates that the earliest possible date for the creation of this picture is 1605. This is compatible with the proposed date for the painting of c. 1611, which is based on the similarity with the high viewpoint found in signed paintings from that year. In works from 1612 the point of view is lower, suggesting a progression towards a greater impression of reality. Incised on the back of this panel is the mark ‘RB’, which belongs to an unidentified panel maker who worked in Antwerp. On the blade of the knife in the foreground is a silver mark from Antwerp in the shape of a hand. This is important because the city where Peeters based her career is uncertain; it was probably Antwerp.

(Text from Vergara, Alejandro (ed.), El Arte de Clara Peeters, Madrid y Amberes, Museo Nacional del Prado, Koniklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 2016, pp. 72-75)


Technical data

Inventory number
Peeters, Clara
Table with a cloth, salt cellar, gilt tazza, pie, jug, porcelain dish with olives, and roast fowl
Ca. 1611
Height: 55 cm; Width: 73 cm
Royal Collection (Collection of Isabel Farnesio, Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso , Segovia, “pieza de la chimenea junto al tocador”, 1746, n. 679; La Granja Palace, “pieza cuadrada inmediata al dormitorio”, 1766, n. 679; La Granja Palace, 1794, n. 679; Royal Palace, Madrid, “dormitorio de príncipes-pieza séptima”, 1814-1818, n. 679)

Bibliography +

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier y Beroqui, Pedro, Inventarios Reales en 12 Volumenes y Un Indice (Fotocopias) (procedencia/provenance), Madrid, 1923.

Harris, Ann Sutherland y Nochlin, Linda, Women Artist : 1550-1950, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1976, pp. 33-40.

Balis, Arnout (dir.), La pintura flamenca en el Prado, IbercajaFonds Mercator, Zaragoza, 1989, pp. no. 33, pp. 118-19.

Decoteau, Pamela Hibbs, Clara Peeters: 1594-ca. 1640 and the development of still-life painting in northern Europe, Luca Verlang, Lingen, 1992, pp. 19-21,178 f.6.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, El siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Prensa Iberica, Barcelona, 1996, pp. 804-805.

Anes, Gonzalo, Las colecciones reales y la fundación del Museo del Prado, Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. 194.

Chong, Alan y Wouter, Kloek, Still-Life Paintings From the Netherlands 1550-1720, Waanders Printers, Zwolle, 1999, pp. 40.

Aterido, A.; Martínez Cuesta, J.; Pérez Preciado, J. J., Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio: inventarios reales (procedencia/provenance), II, Fundacion de Apoyo de la Historia, Madrid, 2004.

Lenders, A, 'Clara Peeters pone la mesa. Objetos y alimentos ante la mirada de un espectador del siglo XVIII' En:, El arte de Clara Peeters, Museo Nacional del Prado, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten., Madrid, Amberes, 2016, pp. 48-65 [53,54,57,58,61].

Vergara, Alejandro, El arte de Clara Peeters, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten; Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 72-75 n.2.

Vergara, A, 'Reflejos de arte y cultura en los cuadrod de Clara Peeters' En:, El arte de Clara Peeters, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten , Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 12-47 [18,31,35].

Buvelot, Q.B, 'Clara Peeters. Still life with Tazza, jug and delicacies' En:, Slow Food: Dutch and Flemish Meal Still Lifes, 1600-164, Mauritshus ; Waanders,, 2017, pp. 154-157 n.15.

González García, Carmen, Repetición y renovación. Un comentario sobre la pintura de objetos y cosas a porósito de la obra de Clara Peeters, Liño, 24, 2018, pp. 45-57 [55].

Jover de Celis, Maite, Las marcas de fabricación como herramienta de datación en los soportes de madera de la pintura flamenca del siglo XVII en el Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXVII n 55-57, 2019-2021, pp. 96-109 [nt 27 Tabla II p.104].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1388.
Clara Peeters. / 1388. Bodegon. / Contiene un pastel, un plato de aceitunas, etc (Tabla). / Alto 1 pie, 11 pulg, 6 lin; Ancho 2 pies, 7 pulg. 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1388.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1529.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1622.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1622.

Inv. Isabel Farnesio, La Granja, 1746. Núm. 679.
679-680 / Otras dos Pinturas en Tabla de mano Flamenca, que reptª el uno, una Costrada, dos Pollos assados, cada uno sobre plato de peltre, un pan, una Ensaladera de Talavera con Aceytunas, y otras cosas, todo en una Messa con Mantel blanco: Y el otro una Ensaladera con Higos, pasas, Almendras, y confites, un Jarro con Flores, y un Plato de Peltre con rosquillas; tambien sobre una Messa de color ceniciento. Tienen a dos pies menos un dedo de alto, y tres menos nuebe de ancho, marcos dorados lisos ... 2

Inv. Testamentaría Isabel Farnesio, La Granja, 1766. Núm. 679.
Pieza quadrada immediata al Dormitorio [...] 679, 680 / Dos pinturas de tres pies de largo, por dos y medio de alto, marco dorado liso, que representan, la una una fuente con una torta, y otras cosas, la otra un florero, con otras varias cosas valen tres mil rrs

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, La Granja, 1794. Núm. 679.
[2397] 679 / Otra [pintura] en tabla, de tres pies de largo por dos y quarto de alto, marco dorado liso representa una torta y otros comestibles: en mil y quinientos reales. Clara Petres ... 1500

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 679.
Dormitorio de Principes [...] Pieza septima [...] {21732-31733} 679-680 / Vara de largo tres quartas alto, una empanadados pollos asados y otras varias viandas sobre una mesa con mantel = Clara Peters

Inscriptions +

Front, lower central area

Fleur-de-lis, used as a collection’s mark belonging to Elisabeth Farnese. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower right corner

RB [Maestro RB, ca. 1616]
Panel maker mark. Back

Exhibitions +

Slow Food: Still Lifes of the Golden Age
La Haya
09.03.2017 - 25.06.2017

The Art of Clara Peeters
25.10.2016 - 19.02.2017

Clara Peeters
16.06.2016 - 02.10.2016

Location +

Room 082 (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Porcelain: Plato de porcelana "kraak", una exportación china que llegó a Europa a finales del siglo XVI a través de Portugal y España, y se extendió a lo largo de todo el continente, principalmente mediante las redes de contactos de los Habsburgo

Pitchers / Jugs: Jarra cerámica con tapas metálicas

Salt cellar / salt shaker: Salero de orfebrería


Glass, Römer: Copa Römer, con cáliz abombado y ligeramente cerrado en su boca, sostenido por una pierna hueca cilíndrica y ancha, decorada con gruesos cabujones puntiagudos.
En origen tuvieron uso ceremonial, reservándose para ocasiones especiales, para degustar preferentemente vinos blancos

Update date: 03-06-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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