Decorative Wall Panel with Musical Instruments

Artist or maker:
Deneux, Dieudonné (d.1786)
c 1768
dated by comparable work in Société libre d'Emulation à Liège
Place of production:
Liège, Wallonia, Belgium
oil on canvas
Type of object:
panels (surface components)
Accession number:


One of nine decorative panels that decorated the Garden Bedroom at Waddeson Manor (now Panelled Room). The panel to the left of the door (acc. no. 744.1) is signed by Dieudonné Deneux, a decorative painter from Liège. They demonstrate Deneux's familiarity with the latest Parisian fashions.

Much of Deneux's work has been lost. It is known that he painted for religious, civic and private patrons in Liège. A surviving scheme dated 1768, now in the headquarters of the Société libre d'Emulation of Liège, is remarkably similar to the panels at Waddesdon, and was probably painted around the same time. The scheme included five large canvases of trophies set within a border of shell and plant motifs painted in the rococo style (see Pierre-Yves Kairis, 'Note sur Dieudonné Deneux et ses peintures du bâtiment de la Société libre d'Emulation à Liège', "Société libre d'Emulation. Bulletin d'information", 31, (2003): 13-15).

Marie-Christine Merch ('La peinture décorative à caractère civil au pays de Liège au XVIIIe siècle', mémoire de licence en histoire de l'art et archéologie (Université de Liège, 1981), pp. 74-75, 89-98) has shown that Deneux was inspired by motifs created by the French ornamental designer Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1789). Delafosse published 'Nouvelle Iconologie historique ou Attributs hiéroglyphiques qui ont pour objets les Elemens, les Saisons, les Quatre parties du Monde, et les diverses complexions de l'Homme' in 1767. The trophies painted by Deneux are based on Delafosse's designs featuring attributes of love, music and pastoral life. Unlike Delafosse's prints, Deneux's compositions do not have symbolic allusions. His trophies of garden tools, fruit, and musical instruments are merely decorative. Deneux's use of Delafosse's designs shows his familiarity with the latest Parisian styles.

It is believed that the panels were always in the Garden Bedroom, and indeed the pastoral themes of the panels appear to have given the room its name. However, they do not appear in either the inventories of Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1898 or of his sister Alice in 1922. This suggests that they were not considered to be particularly valuable.

Phillippa Plock, 2012

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
2300 x 1910 (sight size)
Signature & date:
not signed or dated


Acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898); inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957

Indexed terms