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Jean-Etienne Liotard: 'A Lady pouring Chocolate ('La Chocolatière')'
Lent by the Trustees, Stansted Park Foundation, Stansted House, Hants, © Private collection. Used by permission

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A young woman is making drinking chocolate for herself and an unseen companion. Chocolate was a luxury drink at this time. As the items on the tray show, it was drunk with milk and sugar. The object in the foreground is a footwarmer. Part of a Dutch 17th-century painting of a church interior is shown on the rear wall.

In this painting Liotard has adopted a high viewpoint enabling him to show separately the objects on the table and how they, and the table itself, variously reflect light. The woman's contemplative look suggests that the painting is about reflection in two senses of the word.

Liotard painted this picture around 1744 when in Vienna. He exhibited it in Paris in 1752 and sold it in London in 1773.

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