A Fox in the Farmyard

Artist or maker:
Oudry, Jacques-Charles (b.1720, d.1778)
Oudry, Jean-Baptiste (b.1686, d.1755)
previously attributed to Jan Fyt (Belgian or Flemish, b.1611, d.1661)
c 1748
dated by Wallace Collection painting, but may be later
Place of production:
Paris, France
oil on canvas
Type of object:
Accession number:


An almost identical canvas by Jean-Baptiste Oudry hangs in the Wallace Collection, London, dated 1748 (P629). The Wallace painting may have been partly executed by his son, Jacques-Charles Oudry. He perhaps also had a hand in this work, particularly if it was made as a studio replica.

Jean-Baptiste Oudry was a successful animal painter and tapestry designer. He trained at the school of the painter's guild the Académie de Saint-Luc. Later in life he entered the Académie Royale and became animal painter to the King. He followed in the tradition of Dutch 17th-century animal specialists such as Hondecoeter and Weenix. His son continued to paint very similar works, including canvases of dogs and birds of prey attacking other animals.

Oudry produced several repetitions of his compositions (see Jean Locquin; Catalogue Raisonné de l'oeuvre de Jean-Baptiste Oudry, peintre du roi, 1686-1755; Paris; 1912, nos. 332, 358, 364). Replicas for decorative schemes are more likely to be by his studio. Easel paintings such as this are almost always by his hand, despite a seeming lack of quality (see Hal N Opperman; J.-B. Oudry, 1686-1755; Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux; 1982; p. 77).

At Waddesdon, the painting originally accompanied one of a peacock and birds, attributed to Hondecoeter, which was acquired by Ferdinand de Rothschild for his small dining room. This painting is now no longer at Waddesdon. Still-lives of fruit and vegetables, or hunting scenes such as this, reflected the food served in the room.

The painting in the Wallace Collection was made for the country château of the civic-administrator and engineer, Daniel-Charles Trudaine (1703-1769), later the hunting lodge of Louis XV. It was one of four paintings depicting wild and domesticated hunting animals. A hawk and fox create mayhem in the kill. This composition includes the poignant distress of the dying cockerel's family caused by the fox's savagery.

Phillippa Plock, 2011

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
1219 x 1498
Approx 1210 x 1580 - sight
Signature & date:
signed, lower left on stone: J. B. Oudry


Acquired by 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



Ellis Waterhouse, Anthony Blunt; Paintings: The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Fribourg; Office du Livre, The National Trust; 1967
Hal N Opperman; Jean-Baptiste Oudry; 2 vols; New York; Garland; 1977; p. 266, no. 122
John Ingamells; The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Pictures; 4 vols; London; The Trustees of the Wallace Collection (London); 1985-1989; vol. 1, p. 469, no. P300
vol. 3, p. 279

Indexed terms