Inside the mansion is a famous trompe l'oeil painting by Samuel Van Hoogstraten. The painting is displayed in a doorway across a hallway in order to create an illusion and literally 'fool the eye' of the observer. The artist draws us through an archway and into a Dutch interior.
The image depicts the possible loss of innocence as indicated by the birdcage dominating the top of the painting. A birdcage with the door open is a symbol of virginity lost. However, in this painting the door is open but the green parrot has not flown. It waits in the entrance - will it fly or will it stay within the cage?
It is not easy to see in this photo but through the doorway beyond the staircase there is a pale faced young man looking through the window at a scene which shows an anxious looking girl. She faces towards her father who is wearing typical Dutch clothing of the period. There is another figure, perhaps her mother, sitting at the table.
A small scrap of paper lies on the staircase - is it a love note accidentally dropped? Fidelity holds a key that signifies her absolute trustworthiness, a key hangs on the pillar to the righthand side of the painting.
There is tension within the painting revealed by the arched back of the cat, and the young King Charles spaniel looks wary and apprehensive.
The broom leaning beside the wall though considered primarily a female icon due to its domestic use, is also a fertility symbol of both sexes.
The putti angels depicted on the archway can be symbolic of either God's protection or punishment.
The outcome of the painting will never be known and will always remain a mystery.