Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 29 x 44 ¼ in. (73.7 x 112.4 cm.)
Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1880
This is probably the painting auctioned, as A Game of Forfeits, by King & Chasemore in Pulborough, England, on 10 October 1978 (lot 107). It was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London in 1983. The picture is reproduced in the exhibition catalogue. The anonymous purchaser in 1983 put it up for sale at Christie’s in New York (Lot 557) on 28 October 2019 with an estimate of $12,000-$18,000. It was described as the property of a ‘Southern seller’. The eventual hammer price reached was $10,000 (£7,776), with the buyer paying a total of $12,500 (£9,720) .
The Academy, 10 April 1880:
The two pictures which Mr. Eyre Crowe will exhibit at the Royal Academy show strongly contrasted subjects: one of them is a drawing-room scene, a game of forfeits; the other an interior in Westminster Abbey. It is some years since the artist has painted what is as frankly a Genre picture as this scene of modern life and gentle comedy. The reliance is placed, not so much upon beauty of colour – certainly not the strong point of the picture – as upon the story told and the piquant method of telling it. The figures are natural, and express gentle life in a way in which would have been difficult for them to do had they been painted from the paid model. One lady kneels, her face in the lap of another; one lady half hides her face behind her ample fan, for she it is who is destined to be kissed by the somewhat timid and irresolute young man now discreetly in the background. The quiet humour of the picture and its truth to every-day scenes are likely to commend it to the lovers of Genre painting, who are always numerous and influential. The picture should be engraved. In black and white it would be extremely telling.
Athenaeum, 1 May 1880:
Mr. Eyre Crowe contributes an animated and solidly painted picture called Forfeits (448), showing ladies and gentlemen amusing each other in a room. A group in front comprises a fair dame in the bloom of life, clad in a striped black-and-white dress; her attitude is very graceful and lifelike; behind her sits a younger damsel, wearing a similar dress. These figures are a little too sharply-defined, their dresses are slightly hard. There is much sound and good painting in the foreground accessories, although equal care has not been bestowed on those of the background and the smaller figures of an extremely happy design.