A shy, nervous young woman is well-dressed in exquisitely rendered red silk with gold brocade. She looks to the viewer with a smiling, unsure expression, while a smooth, confident gentleman encourages her to drink.
The window shows the arms of Jannetje Vogel, who married Vermeer's neighbor, Moses Nederveen. Surrounding the arms is the figure of a woman holding a horse's bridle in one hand, an image of temperance. The window is identical to that in The Glass of Wine, another exhortation of Temperance.
The painting on the back wall is of a dignified man in a lace collar, presumably the master of the house, looking down on his wife hesitantly beginning an affair. A shodowy figure seated at the back is ambiguous: perhaps he is the match and the man in the center is the matchmaker, or perhaps he is a chaperone who has abrogated his duty.
This painting has been on public display since 1754, due to the generosity of the Duke of Braunschweig; he gallery is the oldest public gallery in Germany.