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Johannes Vermeer, Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman ('The Music Lesson'), c.1660-1662, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

THE HAGUE.- "The Music Lesson" by Johannes Vermeer returns to the Netherlands this autumn for the first time in twenty years. This masterpiece, part of the British Royal Collection, was last on display in the Mauritshuis in 1996, as part of the major Johannes Vermeer exhibition. The painting will be the highlight of this autumn’s exhibition At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his contemporaries from the British Royal Collection. The exhibition opens to the public on the 29th of September. 

"The Music Lesson" is one of the rare 36 surviving works by Johannes Vermeer. This painting dates from 1660-1662, and shows a woman and a gentleman beside a virginal. Above the instrument hangs a mirror, which reflects the foot of Vermeer's easel. The The painting was acquired by King George III of England in 1762, when it was attributed to Frans van Mieris the Elder. Only later was it recognised as a masterpiece by Vermeer. 

Mauritshuis itself has three works by Vermeer – Diana and her Nymphs, View of Delft and Girl with a Pearl Earring – but its collection lacks a genre piece by the artist. That’s why the museum is delighted to have the opportunity of showing a fourth Vermeer for a time. 

At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his contemporaries from the British Royal Collection 

The British Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world and one of the few great European royal collections to have remained intact. 

The exhibition covers a broad selection of the best Dutch genre paintings from the Royal Collection. It includes 22 paintings from the British Royal Collection and one from the collection of the Mauritshuis. 

Key works in the exhibition are Johannes Vermeer's "The Music Lesson" and Jan Steen's A Woman at her Toilet. Also featured are significant works by other grand masters of Dutch genre painting, such as Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Willem van Mieris and Gabriël Metsu.

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Jan Steen, A Woman at het Toilet, 1663, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

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The painting "The Music Lesson" by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer is hung during the installation of the exhibition "At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his Contemporaries from the British Royal Collection" at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague on September 23, 2016. The renowned collection of the British royal family, managed by Queen Elizabeth II, contains unique highlights from the oeuvres of famous painters such as Gerard ter Borch, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu and Jan Steen. Koen van Weel / ANP / AFP.

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People visit the exhibition "At Home in Holland: Vermeer and Contemporaries from the British Royal Collection" at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, on September 27, 2016. The exhibition contains 22 paintings from renowned collection of the British royal family, managed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and runs from 29 September 2016 to 08 January 2017. Freek van den Bergh / ANP / AFP.