The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Lady and Cavalier
  • Jan van Mieris (1660 - 1690)
  • Lady and Cavalier
  • Netherlands
  • c. 1680
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 29 x 22 cm
  • Signature: 'J V Mieris f'
  • P176
  • East Galleries III
Further Reading
  • Son of Frans van Mieris the Elder and elder brother of Willem, Jan van Mieris was taught by his father. His early subjects seem to have been genre scenes, but he later began to paint historical subjects. Lady and Cavalier is a scene of seduction, as implied by the painting in the background of the room, which shows Apollo’s pursuit of the nymph Daphne in the classical poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Smoking and drinking were considered dangerous vices in seventeenth-century Holland, and their presence in the painting allude to dangerous moral licence. The lit candle is symbolic of the mutual desire between the painting’s protagonists, whilst the inclusion of a large bed behind the cavalier is a less subtle reminder.