The Boar Hunt

Circle of:
Snyders, Frans (b.1579, d.1657)
c 1660-1680
dated as an early copy
Place of production:
Antwerp, Antwerpen Province, Flanders, Belgium
oil on canvas
Type of object:
Accession number:


Frans Snyder's dramatic rendition of a boar hunt exists in several versions. This early copy was bought by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild when he was a young man. He recounts that he had the pick of a Russian collection, but bought for himself only this 'very inferior picture of the school of Snyders'.

The composition of the Waddesdon canvas accords with Frans Snyders, 'Hounds Bringing Down a Boar', oil on canvas, 208 x 344, private collection (Casa Torres Madrid), with the landscape by Jan Wildens. In that painting there is an additional section on the right: the whole of the dog pulling on the boar's ear is visible and there is an additional head of a snarling dog. The wall on the right in the Waddesdon canvas is replaced by rocks from which a hound is leaping. There is also another canvas by Snyders at Buckingham Palace with the same composition but without the additional head of a snarling dog (RCIN 405557). A variation of the composition signed by Snyders is also to be found in the Art Gallery of New South Wales (239.2005).

The painter of the Waddesdon canvas may have worked from one of these examples, or a related design. Snyders's paintings of hunting animals were very popular with his patrons, and several versions were made, often with studio assistance. Based in Antwerp, Snyders developed dramatic scenes of animal hunts and fights, forging a new genre of painting in the process. He appears to have made the boar hunt paintings around the 1650s. This painting was probably made soon after by one of his many followers.

In Ferdinand de Rothschild's memoir of collecting entitled 'Bric-a-Brac' he describes the purchase of the painting thus: 'Once I had a unique opportunity of laying the foundations of a collection for myself. In the autumn of 1867 I went to Russia and soon after my arrival at St. Petersburg I became acquainted with the Secretary to the French Embassy, whose name I have forgot-ten, who informed me that he was entrusted with the sale of the collection of the Princess Galitzin, a relative of his by marriage. This collection was the third part of one originally formed by the Princess's ancestor Count Poucheleff Besborodko, a Minister and favourite of the Empress Catherine. The other two parts had been inherited by the Count's other descendants, and had been disposed of to various French and English dealers and amateurs. My French friend gave me the catalogue of the Princess's collection with the price of each article marked, and offered me the first refusal of anything I chose to take. He begged me not to tarry as a gang of foreign dealers – 'la bande noire' – as they were called, headed by Mr. Spitzer, were lying in wait like a pack of wolves only too eager to pounce on the articles. On entering the Princess's Palace and seeing the many fine pictures, the furniture, the sixteenth century works of art, I lost my breath. No amateur ever had such an opportunity, and possibly will never have the like again, for many of the articles were of the highest quality, and the prices were most moderate. I alas! was still very inexperienced, moreover I was bewildered and hustled, and finally being in deep mourning I was not in the mood to take advantage of the opportunity. For myself I bought only a very inferior picture of the school of Snyders, but I selected two sixteenth century articles, not for myself or my Father, but for my Uncle Lionel to whom I was desirous of showing some little attention.'

Phillippa Plock, 2011

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
1525 x 2670 - sight
Signature & date:
not signed or dated


Owned by Alexander Bezborodko (b.1747, d.1799); by descent to Princess Praskovia Andreevna Galitzin(b.1767, d.1868); purchased from the sale of Princess Galitzin's collection by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898) in 1867; inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); given to Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) by the Treasury Solicitor in lieu of taxes on the Estate of Mr James de Rothschild in 1963.
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Waddesdon Manor, 1963



Ellis Waterhouse, Anthony Blunt; Paintings: The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Fribourg; Office du Livre, The National Trust; 1967; p. 203, cat. no. 88
Hella Robels; Frans Snyders: Stilleben- und Tiermaler, 1579-1657; Munich; Deutscher Kunstverlag Munchen; 1989; p. 334, no. 236b
Michael Hall, Bric-a-Brac: A Rothschild Memoir of Collecting, Apollo, 166, July 2007-August 2007, 50-77; pp. 65-66

Indexed terms