Facts about the painting

Size 13.5" x 17.5"
Format Oil on Canvas
Signature Lower Right (on side of Trunk)
Frame Gilt

History of the painting

Date Auctioneer Lot Offer Price Sale Price
6 Dec 1979 Bonham's 7 Not Known £1,200
9 May 2007 Dallas Auction Gallery 186 $12,000-$18,000 $32,312.50

Haynes Fine Art of Broadway UK, acquired this painting either at the above auction or at some point soon afterwards. They are currently showing it in their gallery with an asking price of £17,500.

Prior to the above sale it was owned by Mrs. W.A. "Betty" Criswell, Dallas, Texas who auctioned it as one of a pair with A Game Of Spinning Tops 1895. Both paintings fetched over double the offer price.

The 1979 Auction was of a painting entitled Music Practice and the 2007 Auction was called "Two boys practicing their music". It is not certain that these were the same painting but the size, subject and date match very closely.

Other observations

This is a lovely example of Harry Brooker's mid-sized paintings. The red tablecloth which gives the painting a rich glow, featured in some of Harry's earliest paintings, Homework (Version 2) 1875 and The Treasured Volume 1879. It also featured in another of Harry's painting from the same year as this one, Blind Man's Buff 1898.

The chair with the wheel in the chair back, features in a few other paintings. However what is not quite so clear is that the high chair which features in many paintings probably also had this wheel feature in the chair back and only Oranges and Lemons 1890 provides some evidence of this.

As to which of the boys are playing this duet, it is probably Oswald (now aged 17) and Edwin (now aged 15). Edgar was almost certainly already working as a solicitors clerk (he was married only three years later).

Another of Harry's paintings, painted about ten years earlier was called the Banjo Player, but this was larger, 21" x 14".