A Merry Company at Table

The brothel scene or 'bordeeltje' was a popular theme in Dutch genre painting. Here, an elderly woman supervises the proceedings and wine and oysters are offered – both of which are known for their aphrodisiac qualities. Her age and ugliness is contrasted with the youth and beauty of the young women. This comparison has the moralising overtones of a vanitas and underlines the transience of earthly beauty and possessions and the inevitability of age, decay, and death.

Pot, a native of Haarlem who eventually became a citizen of Amsterdam, painted small portraits and guardroom and festive scenes. He was very familiar with interior scenes painted by early 17th-century artists like Willem Buytewech, or contemporary ones such as Anthonie Palamedesz. and Dirck Hals. His rooms are often very spacious, with hardly any furniture and a neutral brownish background.

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1585 or earlier? - 1657
Full title
A Merry Company at Table
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on oak
32.3 x 49.6 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1889
Inventory number
Location in Gallery