Figures outside an inn

Artist or maker:
van Ostade, Isack (b.1621, d.1649)
Place of production:
Haarlem, Holland, Netherlands
oil on canvas
Type of object:
oil paintings
Accession number:


This painting has long been recognised as one of the finest examples of Isack van Ostade's work, admired for its liveliness and variety of detail as much as for the warmth of its colouring and masterly arrangement of light and shade.

Isack van Ostade trained under his older brother Adriaen van Ostade (1610-1685), whose painting "The Musicians" (acc. no. 2169) is at Waddesdon. The interior scenes with peasants that dominate Isack's early subject matter reflect Adriaen's influence. However, the present work, which was painted towards the end of Isack's short life, demonstrates his fascination with landscape. By this point, Isack had developed a masterful technical and colouristic skill that evoked the tones and moods of nature, the times of day, and the changing seasons.

Landscape and genre elements are integrated harmoniously in Isack's powerful diagonal composition. In the foreground, a group of soliders are drinking, smoking and conversing. They are apparently unaware of the travellers who have just arrived, descending from their cart, or of the man driving cattle along the muddy road. At the top of the steps to the inn, a woman, with a child in her arms, surveys the scene, but still sees less than we do. Our spectator's view encompasses details that bring the composition together - the white shirt hanging on a washing line on the far left; the cream face of the central cow; the white horse in the right distance and the low lines of the landscape beyond.

The painting is recorded in Baron Ferdinand’s ‘Red Book’ which he printed privately in 1897 and lists, including illustrations, his collection of favourite works of art and pictures at Waddesdon. It was displayed in the Morning Room. Prior to Ferdinand, it was owned by Sébastien Érard, an instrument maker credited with the development of the modern piano; and later by the collector and bibliophile, Frederick Perkins, head of the Barclay Perkins & Co brewery.

Juliet Carey, 2017

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
1030 x 1425
Signature & date:
signed and dated, lower left: I van Ostade 1647


Owned by either Sir John Lambert (b.1728; d.1799), Paris, or a M. du Porail; sold in their sale, Lebrun, Paris, 27 March 1787, lot 68, as ‘La Vue d’une Hôtellerie - Ce tableau précieux rempli de detail, pittoresques & agréables, a toujours regardé comme un des ouvrages capitaux de cet habile peintre’ for 1700 FF, to either Jean-Baptiste Lebrun (b.1748, d.1813) or Joseph-Alexandre Lebrun (active c 1785- c 1795); acquired by Sébastien Érard (b.1752; d.1831), Château de la Muette, Passy; his posthumous sale, Salle Lebrun, Paris, 14 August 1832 [=7th Day], lot 105, as ‘Halte de Voyageurs a la Porte d’un Cabaret – Ce tableau qui est regardé comme l’un des plus capiteaux de l’auteur, réunit à la richesse et à amusante variété des details, à beaucoup de vie et d’action, une execution forte, un coloris plein de chaleur, et cette savant combination de lumière et l’ombre sans laquelle il n’y a point d’effet en peinture’, for 4,801 livres; acquired by Frederick Perkins (1780-1860) of Chipstead Place, Sevenoaks, Kent, by 1857; acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898); inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (1847-1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (1878-1957); inherited by his wife Dorothy de Rothschild (b.1895, d.1988); inherited by the donor; accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government and allocated to Waddesdon (National Trust), 2016.
Exhibition history:
'Art Treasures of the United Kingdom', Manchester, 5 May - 17 October 1857, no. 1025 (lent by F Perkins, Esq).

Spencer House, London, May 1991-2016, long term loan.
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government and allocated to the National Trust, 2016



Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild; The Red Book; England; Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild; b.1839, d.1898; 1897; pp. 50-51, ill.
John Smith; A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters; 9 vols; London; Smith and Son; 1829-1842; vol, 1, p. 184, no. 18; vol. 9, p. 125, no. 11.
Cornelis Hofstede de Groot; A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Vols 1-4 [1907-1927]; Bishops Stortford; Chadwick Healey; 1976; vol. 3, p. 511, no. 225d, & p. 521, no. 248; no. 225d ‘A Great Merrymaking’; no. 248, ‘Many People Outside an Inn – In the collection of the late Baron Ferdinand von Rothschild, Waddesdon Manor.’

Indexed terms