In a large panelled room, a group of seventeen figures, whose dress is rendered in detail, are enjoying themselves. In the foreground, at the centre of the composition, is featured a couple. Commonly known as “merry companies”—gezelschapjes in Dutch—interior scenes showing the leisure pursuits of the middle class began to appear in the Netherlands in the 1620s and became extremely popular. They depicted gatherings of fashionably dressed young people feasting and amusing themselves indoors or in gardens. This painting exemplifies the work of one of the genre’s great masters, the Amsterdam artist Codde. The merry companies were undeniably innovative works and played a key role in the development of genre painting.