A Scene in an Eating House

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Washington Allston (American, 1779–1843)
A Scene in an Eating House, 1813
Oil on canvas
27 7/8 × 36 1/4 in. (70.8 × 92.08 cm)
Layton Art Collection Inc., Purchase L1964.3
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Currently on View

In this painting, Washington Allston lampooned and reinforced national stereotypes, caricaturing the reactions of the irate German fiddler, indifferent Dutchman, insincere Frenchman, and jocular Englishman to the spilled soup. In addition to capturing these national flavors, Allston married distinct artistic traditions: seventeenth century Dutch genre scenes, the anecdotal tales of American author Washington Irving, and the glowing color of Venetian old masters all show their influence here. Allston exhibited this canvas at his first solo show in England, and while a critical success over the pond, the figures’ gauche behavior found little favor with American patrons. Upon his return to the states in 1818, Allston turned to more elevated allegorical and biblical subjects.

Publication History
Eastberg, John C. and Eric Vogel. Layton’s Legacy: A Historic American Art Collection 1888–2013. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Layton Art Collection, Inc., 2013, pp. 328, 331, 461, color illus. p. 331.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 100, b/w illus. p. 100.

Allston, Washington, E. P. Richardson, Kenyon C. Bolton, and Elizabeth Johns. The Paintings of Washington Allston. Miami, Florida: Lowe Art Museum, 1975, p. 10.

Cincinnati Art Museum. American Paintings III. Cincinnati, Ohio: Cincinnati Art Museum, 1964, cat. 3. (title as The Broken Jug)

Richardson, Edgar Preston. Washington Allston: A Study of the Romantic Artist in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948, p. 198, cat. 77.

Coleridge, S. T. Letter printed in The Bristol Journal, August 13, 1814, p. 3.

W. Allston's Pictures. Bristol: Merchant Tailor's Hall, 1814, cat. 2.
Exhibition History
W. Allston's Pictures, Merchant Tailor's Hall, Broad Street, Bristol, England, July 25, 1814.

American Paintings III. Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 2–April 28, 1964. (title as The Broken Jug)

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.