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Officer Writing a Letter, with a Trumpeter

Gerard ter Borch the younger, Dutch (active Haarlem, London, Amsterdam, Zwolle, and Deventer), 1617 - 1681

Made in Netherlands, Europe

c. 1658-1659

Oil on canvas

22 3/8 × 17 1/4 inches (56.8 × 43.8 cm) Framed: 33 7/8 × 29 1/4 × 2 7/8 inches (86 × 74.3 × 7.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 362, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The William L. Elkins Collection, 1924

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Gerard ter Borch situates the quiet, reflective activity of letter-writing in the traditionally boisterous environment of the guard room. Card-playing was a favorite activity of lovers, and the ace of hearts on the floor in the foreground suggests that the letter being written is an amorous one. The shards of clay pipe scattered around the card refer both to merrymaking activities usual in such a room, and to frustrations the letter-writer is having in expressing his romantic feelings.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.