Dressed to Kill, Dressed to Till

Lot 66:

JOHN COLLET. The Travelling Musician, 1770

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Start price: $2,000

Estimated price: $4,000 - $8,000

Buyer's premium: 20%

JOHN COLLET, SA (c. 1725-1780). The Travelling Musician, 1770 Oil on canvas, 16 1/8 x 13 inches, signed ‘J. Collet’; within gilded, carved frame. English genre and landscape artist John Collet, commonly called "the second Hogarth", was the leading English painter of humorous scenes during the third quarter of the 18th century, many of which were engraved and published. This work depicts a hurdy-gurdy player (likely a former soldier or sailor, as suggested by the scar to the right of his mouth) with audience before a tavern. This work was exhibited at the Society of Artists annual exhibition in 1770, titled as above (cat. no. 281). Later engraved in mezzotint and published in 1774 as ”The Hurdy-Gurdy Player.” The hurdy-gurdy player wears a green coat with boot cuffs probably made at least a decade earlier and likely purchased from a second-hand clothing dealer. Behind him, a man with the broken nose (likely a bare-fist, prizefighter) wears a double-breasted, drab greatcoat. His audience of children appear to be well-dressed, middle-class children with the attire expected of such.