AN EXTREMELY RARE TILE PICTURE DEPICTING LIVERIED SERVANTS CARRYING FOOD LADEN PLATTERS ATTRIBUTED TO VICENTE NAVARRO

June 16 2009, 11:31am

This picture made of 108 hand-painted tiles is attributed to Vicente Navarro, who ran the most important tile manufactory in Valencia in the mid-1700s. Valencia was the center of painted tile production in Spain at that time, and the city's workshops received commissions from the Spanish nobility and even royalty. One of the best-preserved examples of Navarro's style of rococo kitchen tile paintings can be found in the Casa del Marqués de Benicarlo, in Benicarlo, Spain. The Benicarlo painting, like the present one, shows a kitchen scene of liveried servants carrying trays of food, while household dogs and cats beg or steal scraps from the table. The servants are life-size and wear fashionable clothes of the time, and there are trompe l'oeil baskets, food, and kitchen utensils shown hanging from the walls, as they actually would in a kitchen. The scenes in the Benicarlo painting are so remarkably similar to the present piece as to allow a confident attribution to the Navarro workshop.