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There is a larger version, signed and dated 1857, in the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia. At a costume ball two bourgeois, distracted from pleasure by their devotion to business, consult the Moniteur Universel, the official government newspaper. They wear costumes derived from the commedia dell’arte which was the subject of renewed interest in nineteenth-century France (cf. Couture P370). Couture was a great admirer of Molière’s works and the reference to the playwright heightens the satirical allusion of this painting.

The Wallace Collection



Harlequin and Pierrot




oil on canvas


H 11.9 x W 15.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

probably acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th 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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