Collection Online
Don Quixote reading

Don Quixote reading
(Don Quixote lisant)
(c. 1867)

oil on wood panel
33.6 × 26.0 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1923
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Miguel de Cervantes’s hugely popular novel Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605–15) was a satire of the romance of chivalry. From 1850 onward, Cervantes’s novel provided the great French satirical artist Honoré Daumier with subject matter for nearly thirty paintings, over a period of some twenty years. Daumier here shows Don Quixote alone in his study, absorbed in reading the romances that will cause him to set out on a series of absurd adventures with his squire, Sancho Panza.


The frame on Daumier’s Don Quixote reading is likely to have been recycled to the painting. It has not been cut down and retains the dovetail splines across the mitred corners, though two have been replaced.
It takes the form of a Louis XIV frame, a style adapted as the Barbizon frame – more often made with composition ornament in the nineteenth century.
The rebate has been altered, suggesting the painting and frame may have been brought together some time after the painting was made.

Unknown - 18th century

carved timber (oak), gold leaf

51 x 44 x 7 cm