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A Merry Company at Table

Photo credit: The Wallace Collection

How you can use this image

All rights reserved.

This image can be used for non-commercial research or private study purposes, and other exceptions to copyright permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

For all other types of use please visit the owning collection’s website for more information about permitted uses and licensing.


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A brothel scene, as implied by the discarded rapier, lute and dog in the foreground symbolising the disarming power of love and carnal desire. An elderly brothel keeper watches from a doorway as her girls flirt with the soldiers. The figures seated around the table make music together, a common euphemism for making love, and play cards and smoke, both considered vices at the time. A sense of collusion is established with the viewer through the direct, knowing gaze of the cavalier, sitting on the extreme right below the chimney breast, while a mirror on the background wall reminds the viewer to examine his own behaviour before judging others.
  • Date


  • Medium

    oil on oak panel

  • Measurements

    58.5 x 81.4 cm

  • Accession number


  • Acquisition method

    acquired by Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford, at an unknown date; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897


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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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