In a messy inn, three men are sitting at a table. One of them is bending forwards to light his pipe, while the man opposite raises his glass and a third man tunes his fiddle.
The Haarlem artist Van Ostade specialised in scenes of villagers and peasants, which he depicted in a rather free style. This type of peasant painting was very popular with respectable citizens, who were amused by the clumsy behaviour of these coarse characters.
Cornelis van Dyck sale, The Hague, 10 May 1713 (Lugt 241), no. 12 (350 guilders); Franco van Bleyswijck, Delft, until 1734; by inheritance to Maria Catharina van Slingelandt-van der Burch and Hendrik van Slingelandt, The Hague, 1734-1761 (valued in 1734 at 300 guilders; in 1761 at 790 guilders); Govert van Slingelandt sale, 18 May 1768 (Lugt 1683), no. 32; the entire collection sold to Prince William V in 1768; Prince William V, The Hague, 1768-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum central des arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822