This highly illusionistic painting is an example of the trompe l’oeil technique, which is designed to “fool the eye.” Though the signature on the folded note left of center identifies Collier’s location as London, this type of painting finds its origins in the Leiden still-life tradition. The pamphlets and newspapers tucked into the leather straps comment upon international political events involving William III of England, including an attempted assassination and the drafting of the Treaty of Turin. This focus on the English king may have been prompted by the fact that William, like Collier, was of Dutch birth.
Provenance research is on-going at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Curator of Special Projects, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.