Though the title has, for modern audiences, polite implications, this scene in rich surroundings is one of unrestrained revelry, including drunkenness and sexual encounters with prostitutes. It belongs to a Netherlandish tradition of slightly disreputable ‘merry company’ subjects, which emphasise lax morality and the squandering of wealth.
Angellis was born in Dunkirk and came to England in about 1716. He settled in Covent Garden, a newly developed area of London which became the heart of the artistic community.
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