3_A Tea Party by van Aken

A Tea PartyJoseph van Aken, circa 1745

This painting is by Joseph van Aken (c. 1699-1749). He was a Flemish artist who spent most of his working life in England. Joseph van Aken was a most successful painter of drapery, costumes and portraits, as well as domestic scenes. He was employed by many established artists to add in the drapery and clothing within their own paintings. It had for many centuries been common practice for busy and successful artists to employ others to paint sections of their paintings, whilst they themselves painted only the key parts such as the faces.


Reproduced by kind permission of Manchester Art Gallery

Wrap Up Your Painting

  • Is this painting depicting the era in which it was painted, or another era?
  • Did you think the person you chose to look at was isolated or interacting with the other people in the painting?
  • What event would you have liked to visit on this person?
  • How might it change the way the painter depicted the scene in your imagination?
  • How do you feel now you’ve completed this activity? If you enjoyed it, why not add more Look at Paintings audio guides to your week? And don’t forget, you can take these guides with you to your local gallery and try them whilst standing in front of ‘real life’ art

Wrap Up Your Painting

  • What time of day did you think this painting depicted?
  • Did you think that the two women were guests or family members?
  • Who were you, when you entered the painting, and what were you about to do?
  • Did this activity help you to slow down, take time out? If you enjoyed it, why not try more listening guides and make them a part of your week?