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Following the practice first adopted by Watteau (q.v.) in order to invest his fêtes galantes with an ambiguous air of timeless gallantry, the men in the picture wear costumes inspired by the time of Henri IV while the women are depicted in fashionable contemporary dress. The theme of music and dance can be regarded as a metaphor for harmony in love, and again derives from Watteau, in particular from works such as Les Bergers (Berlin, Charlottenburg).
oil on canvas
H 53.5 x W 64.4 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1855; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897