A Game-seller's stand

Frans Snyders
2 min
Year: 1625-1630



Have you ever eaten turkey? Or chicken? Or rooster? Wild boar? Duck? Venison? Grouse? Pheasant? Quail? Or what about chaffinch? 


Pheasant? Quail? Chaffinch? Are those animals? 


They are birds! For example, you can see chaffinches on bird feeders, or perhaps out in the forest.  

Its song sounds like this: 

Four-hundred years ago, people used to roast chaffinches and eat them whole!  

In Antwerp, a city in Belgium, you could go the market early in the morning and buy wild animals and birds to eat for dinner.  

As long as you had enough money, of course.  

Not everyone did, so the most exotic animals were often eaten by the richest people.  

For example, you might fancy eating crane with a side dish of artichokes. 


Crane? Like on a building site?   


No! Not that kind of crane. Cranes are a kind of bird! Big birds with long legs and long necks and long beaks. You can see one here, being held by the game butcher — the bearded man in a red shirt. Can you see him? 

And artichokes are a type of vegetable. They’re at the bottom of the picture next to the wild boar. Can you see them now? 


And the young boy, you can see him struggling to hold onto two flapping hens, is working for the game butcher. 


Working? But shouldn't he be at school? 


No, this boy is learning to kill animals and birds to sell at the market.  

That’s how things were back then. 

Perhaps one day he'll take over the market stall, and then it will be him standing there with a beard and a red shirt, looking sternly at another small boy!