Officer Writing a Letter, with a Trumpeter

Gerard ter Borchc. 1658-59

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, United States

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.


  • Title: Officer Writing a Letter, with a Trumpeter
  • Creator Lifespan: 1617/1681
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch (active Haarlem, London, Amsterdam, Zwolle, and Deventer)
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Deventer, Netherlands
  • Creator Birth Place: Zwolle, Netherlands
  • Date: c. 1658-59
  • Location: Netherlands
  • Physical Dimensions: w17.24 x h22.36 in (Overall)
  • Provenance: The William L. Elkins Collection, 1924
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: © 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
  • External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Artist/Maker: Gerard ter Borch, Dutch (active Haarlem, London, Amsterdam, Zwolle, and Deventer), 1617 - 1681

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