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The subject probably illustrates one of La Fontaine's 'Contes', although none accords precisely with the view painted. The scene may possibly relate to 'The Remedy' (V, vi), which tells how a young maiden of Le Mans persuaded her parents to accept her favoured suitor as her bridegroom, although their union was initially kept secret. One evening the girl complained of feeling ill to her governess, who was ignorant of her charge’s marriage. The picture may thus show the departure of the governess as the girl’s bridegroom steals out from behind the curtain. The following morning the governess returned and the husband, concealed in the bedclothes, was forced to receive the emetic intended for his wife.

The Wallace Collection





oil on canvas


H 32 x W 40 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1868; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type


The Wallace Collection

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

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