The J. Paul Getty Museum

Merry Company in an Arbor

Object Details


Merry Company in an Arbor


Adriaen van de Venne (Dutch, 1589 - 1662)






Oil on panel

Object Number:



16.4 × 23 cm (6 7/16 × 9 1/16 in.)

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Object Description

At the left of this small landscape, a group of maidens make music under an arbor of flowers. In an enclosed area to the right, two women sit on a net used for catching finches. From all sides, youths spy on the women, perching in trees or hiding behind bushes or tree trunks. One bold voyeur clings to the top of the arbor, peering down at the women below. Another, entangled in a net, is apprehended by a soberly dressed woman, while two jesters above have fallen out of the trees.

This light-hearted painting by Adriaen van de Venne was part of a series of four landscapes representing the seasons. This painting, thought to represent spring, and its companion, A Jeu de Paume Before a Country Palace (A Ball Game Before a Country Palace), both include imagery relating to love.

- possibly 1687

Possibly Constantijn Huygens, heer van Zuilichem, 1596 - 1687 (The Hague, The Netherlands; Hofwijck, Voorburg, The Netherlands), possibly by inheritance to his only daughter, Susanna Huygens-Doublet.
Source: Van Suchtelen 1990, p. 102-3.

possibly 1687 - 1725

Susanna Huygens-Doublet, vrouwe van Sint-Annaland, 1637 - 1725 (Sint-Annaland, Tholen, The Netherlands), upon her death, held in trust by the estate.


Estate of Susanna Huygens-Doublet, vrouwe van Sint-Annaland, 1637 - 1725 [sold, Vrouwe van Sint-Annaland sale, November 6, 1725, lots 3-6, which included 83.PB.364.1.]
Note: as manner of Brueghel [J. Brueghel the Elder]

- 1854

Ralph Bernal, 1783 - 1854 (London, England) [sold, Bernal sale, Christie's, London, March 10, 1855, lot 616 (with 83.PB.364.2), possibly to W. Lea.]
Note: as Brueghel

1855 -

Possibly W. Lea, Esq.
Source: Bohn 1858, p. 47.

1889 - before 1918

Henry Lee [unsold, Lee sale, Christie's, London, March 1, 1889, lot 40, and thereafter probably by inheritance to Frederick Lee.]
Note: as Brueghel

- 1918

Frederick Lee [sold, British Red Cross Society sale, Christie's, London, April 20, 1918, lot 1911 (with 83.PB.364.2), to Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., for 480 gns.]
Source: Getty Research Institute (GRI), annotated sale catalogue, Christie's, April 20, 1918.


Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), sold to Frank Partridge & Sons, Ltd., 1918.
Source: GRI, Agnew stockbooks microfiche, nos. 5142-5155.

1918 -

Frank Partridge & Sons, Ltd., founded 1902 (London, England)

- 1932

Sir John Frecheville Ramsden, 6th Bart., 1877 - 1958 (Bulstrode Park, Buckinghamshire, England) [sold, Ramsden sale, Christie's, London, May 27, 1932, lot 46, to Machonachie for 95 gns.]
Source: GRI, annotated sale catalogue, Christie's, May 27, 1932.
Note: as Brueghel

- 1979

Private Collection [sold, Christie's, London, March 30, 1979, lot 9, to John Hoogsteder, Ltd.]

1979 - 1983

Hoogsteder/Naumann, Ltd. (The Hague, The Netherlands; New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580 - 1620 (December 11, 1993 to March 6, 1994)
  • Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), December 11, 1993 to March 6, 1994

Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen met derzelver pryzen: Zedert een langen reeks van Jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere Plaatzen in het openbaar vekogt (The Hague: P.G. van Baalen, 1752), vol. 1, p. 308 (under the "Vrouwe van Ste. Anneland" sale), lots 3-6.

Christie's, London. Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Works of Art [...] of that Distinguished Collector, Ralph Bernal, Esq., [...]. March 5, 1855, p. 44, lot 616 (with 83.PB.364.2).

Bohn, Henry G. A Guide to the Knowledge of Pottery, Porcelain, and Other Objects of Vertù, Comprising an Illustrated Catalogue of the Bernal Collection of Works of Art [...] (London: H.G. Bohn, 1857), p. 47.

Christie's, London. Catalogue of the Collection of Works of Art Presented to the Red Cross [...]. April 8-25, 1918, p. 202, lot 1911 (with 83.PB.364.2).

Christie's, London. Catalogue of Pictures by Old Masters, the Property of Sir John Ramsden, Bart. May 27, 1932, p. 10, lot 46 (with 83.PB.364.2).

Christie's, London. Important Old Master Pictures. March 30, 1979, p. 12, lot 9, ill.

Christie's Advertisement. Apollo n.s. 109, no. 25 (March 1979), p. 30, ill.

Bol, Laurens J. "Andriaen Pietersz. van de Venne schilder en teyckenaer, II Zomerlandschappen. De 'Schildery-winckel' gezien als een Middleburgs cultureel centrum." Tableau 5, no. 3 (December 1982/January 1983), pp. 254-55, fig. 12.

"Acquisitions/1983." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), p. 310, no. 8, fig. 8a.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 144.

Briels, Jan. Vlaamse schilders in de noordelijke Nederlanden in het begin van de Gouden Eeuw, 1585-1630 (Haarlem: H. J. W. Becht, 1987), pp. 95-98, fig. 100.

Sutton, Peter C., et al. Masters of 17th-Century Dutch Landscape Painting, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987), p. 505, under no. 108, entry by Peter C. Sutton, fig. 2.

Bol, Laurens J. Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne: Painter and Draughtsman (Doornspijk: Davaco, 1989), pp. 23-26, fig. 9.

Sutton, Peter C. "Recent Patterns of Public and Private Collecting of Dutch Art." In Great Dutch Paintings from America, exh. cat. Ben Broos et al., eds. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, with Waanders, 1990), p. 107.

Suchtelen, Ariane van. "New Evidence on a Series of Landscape Paintings by Adriaen van de Venne." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 18 (1990), pp. 99-112, fig. 1.

Luijten, Ger, et al., eds. Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580-1620, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, with Waanders, 1993), pp. 270, 655-57, no. 328.I, ill.

"Part II: Paintings Sold in the Past." In Otto Naumann, Ltd. Inaugural Exhibition of Old Master Paintings, 12 January-1 March 1995, exh. cat. (New York: Otto Naumann, Ltd., 1995), p. 142, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 12, ill.

Dutch and Flemish Old Master Paintings, exh. cat. (London: Johnny van Haeften, 2009), unpaginated, under no. 42.

Voldère, Florence de, et al. L'Odyssée du Paradis dans la peinture flamande, XVe-XVIIe siècle: l'émergence du paysage profane (Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 2012), p. 111, 325, fig. 95.