Elegantly dressed couples are disporting themselves in a room fashionably decorated with green embossed leather wall coverings. The man on the right is holding up his hands in astonishment at the love-making of the couple in the foreground. Three musical instruments, a lute, a violin and a viola da gamba, are shown, but no one is playing them. In the course of painting this, the artist extended the composition to the right by joining another panel (about 15 cm wide) at the right side, thus shifting the figures of the man and woman to the right to create a void between the two groups. A pentimento of the earlier position of the man’s right leg is discernible to the naked eye. X-rays show a change in position of the right hand of the standing man just behind; he may originally have rested his hand on the shoulder of his seated companion. The main panel is prepared with a dark grey under paint, while the added portion has a pale, creamy ground, which gives a warmer tonality to the paint in this area.
Where to see this painting?
English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House
Hyde Park Corner, London, Greater London, England, W1J 7NT
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.