Merry Company with a Man and Two Women

Pieter de Hooch, 1629 - 1684

Merry Company with a Man and Two Women

Pieter de Hooch 1629 - 1684


Pieter de Hooch painted many scenes of fashionably dressed people socialising in extravagant interiors. Here, the grand fireplace, chequered marble floor and chandelier imbue this home with grandeur, although interior decoration such as this was in reality more likely to be found in important public buildings. Accessories such as the rug and oranges were some of the most expensive at the time. The dark interior, however, was typical of Dutch houses at this time. Most were terraced, long and narrow, with windows only at the front and back. The principal figures are lit by an unseen (and unlikely) window to the left. In addition, De Hooch uses consecutive doorways to offer views into rooms beyond, as well as to the outside world, a device known as doorsien. Such an alignment of doors is not known to have existed in Dutch houses at this time. Its purpose here, along with the patterned floor, is to add depth and perspective to the painting, and to remind the viewer of the role of this scene in relation to the world outside. Above the fireplace is a painting of the drunken Silenus supported by satyrs, warning those in the room about the dangers of excessive drinking. Images such as this, of a well-run and ordered home, symbolised a moral and prosperous society. De Hooch was born in Rotterdam and spent much of his life in Leiden, Delft and Amsterdam. He joined the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft in 1655 and carried out a six-year apprenticeship in the city.

Display Label

Interior with a Gentleman and Two Ladies around 1668 - 70 Pieter de Hooch 1629 - after 1684 Oil on canvas A man takes a hot coal from the fire to light his pipe, and looks salaciously at the seated woman as his tongs with the burning embers, draw close to her upturned glass. Above his head there is a copy of a painting by Rubens. Its shows the drunken Silenus supported by satyrs. De Hooch would have probably known this through a print. Earlier in the century such scenes would be set in a tavern, warning the observers of the dangers of excess, but this appears to be a middle-class house with a fine marble fireplace, chandelier and furnishings, and the admonishments have become gentle reminders. Assheton - Bennett bequest 1979.465

Object Name

Merry Company with a Man and Two Women

Creators Name

Pieter de Hooch

Date Created



Canvas: 70cm x 61.8cm
frame: 91.5cm x 83cm

accession number


Place of creation





Oil paint

On Display

[G14] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 14 - TEMPORARILY CLOSED
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Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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