Inscribed, on plate, lower left: J. Boydell excudit, Mar. 1, 1769/Vol. II, No. 40.; center: SOLDIERS QUARRELING AT DICE./From the Original Picture of the same Size, Painted by VALENTINI, in the Collection of S.r James Lonther, Bar.t; lower right: Engraved by Capt.n Baillie.
Grouped around a table, men throw dice. While some still wear their armor, others are dressed in everyday clothes. Yet they remain armed, swords dangling from their hips. With their arms raised and mouths open, the men appear to be in the midst of a dispute over the game. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century images of military men gambling often presented soldiers as uncouth and quick to anger, distinguishing them as a separate class within society. This print, marked by its dark shadows and exaggerated facial expressions, almost caricatures the regular infantry. In contrast, generals and captains in this period would be the subject of glorious portraits. Soldiers held a paradoxical social place: necessary to fight the regular European wars in this period, they were at once praised for their courage and represented as crude.
From the 2023 exhibition Recording War: Images of Violence 1500 – 1900, curated by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Academic Programming
Recording War: Images of Violence, 1500-1900, Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 20-August 20, 2023.
Elizabeth Richmond Fisk (1885-1966) [Mrs. Harvey Edward Fisk], Woodstock, Vermont; to her children, Elizabeth Fisk Tyler (1912-1978), Margaretta Fisk Paine (1915-1952); Ursula Fisk Clough (1917-1989), and Anne Fisk Howe (1921-2001), 1966; given to present collection, 1974.
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