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A group of fourteen men and women gather around a table in a simple room.

A man in the center facing the viewer looks to the left, holding up his glass. His right foot points outward with a black pointy shoe and white stockings as he sits turned in the chair, he has curly hair, moustache and goatee. The group sits or stands from the center to right, dressed in dark colors, wide white collars, some men wear wide brim hats. A shaft of light enters from the upper left, illuminating people at the table. A musician is seated on far right. Two dogs play on the wooden floor on the left.

Gallery Text

The Delft painter Anthonie Palamedesz. frequently portrayed scenes from everyday life, including those of lively parties of fashionably dressed young men and women. At the center, a tipsy man raises his glass to us, establishing an air of festivity. On the left, a young man in a scarlet cloak pours wine out of a pitcher. The vine branch below the credenza displaying drinking vessels suggests the bacchanalian nature of the occasion. A close connection between drunkenness and sensual pleasures is implied by the inebriated couples and small groups conversing intimately, as a man on the far right sings and plays the lute. The painting of Venus and Cupid on the right wall affirms the erotic motivation of these social gatherings, while the painting of a ship riding a rough sea at center might allude to the stormy course of love or the perils of a dissolute life.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Anthonie Palamedesz., Dutch (Delft, Netherlands 1601 - 1673 Amsterdam, Netherlands)
A Merry Company in an Interior
Other Titles
Former Title: A Spanish Entertainment
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2300, European Art, 17th–19th century, Seventeenth–Century Dutch and Flemish Art
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on panel
53.7 x 89.2 cm (21 1/8 x 35 1/8 in.)
frame: 91.5 × 125 cm (36 × 49 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: A. Palamdes Ano 1633
  • label: verso, stretcher, printed text: A1544 [Knoedler stock number]
  • inscription: verso, stretcher, black chalk or graphite: A-1544 [underlined] [Knoedler stock number]
  • inscription: verso, yellow chalk: 1163 or 1143 [Sotheby's?]
  • label: verso: 5 / 70
  • inscription: verso, bottom of frame: 5293
  • inscription: graphite, right side of frame: 5143


Recorded Ownership History
Collection Earl of Yarborough, 1887. [Leggatt Brothers, London, (by 1929)]. Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, New York, sold [through Anderson Galleries / American Art Association, May 14, 1935, lot 1171]; to [Knoedler, New York], sold; to [Arthur de Casseres, London, October 31, 1936, as “A Spanish Entertainment”]. [Alan Jacobs Gallery, London], sold; to [Johnny van Haeften, Ltd., London, March 1986], sold; to Peter and Anne Brooke, Boston, January 1987, gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2016

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Peter and Anne Brooke
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • [Reproduction only], The International Studio, (New York, December 1929)., p. 118 [reproduction only; Leggatt Brothers advertisement]
  • Peter C. Sutton, Prized Possessions: European Paintings from Private Collections of Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exh. cat., MFA Publications (Boston, 1992), pp. 50, 190-191, repr. p. 50, cat. no. 108
  • A. Cassandra Albinson and Jessie Park, "A Glimpse into the Dutch Golden Age", Index Magazine ([e-journal], April 27, 2018),, accessed April 30, 2018

Exhibition History

  • Prized Posessions: European Paintings from Private Collections of Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 06/17/1992 - 08/16/1992
  • 32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/17/2018 - 09/25/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/01/2019 - 01/01/2050

Related Works

Verification Level

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