Collection Online

Portrait of a lady
(c. 1640)

oil on canvas
126.0 × 104.0 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1979
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th Century & Flemish Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Portraits enjoyed great popularity in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century, reflecting the growing affluence and civic pride of Dutch society. Members of the extensive Dutch middle class were keen consumers of art, and their patronage sustained a large community of talented painters. This young woman’s black attire, while austere to modern eyes, was chosen for its fashionability and formality. She wears the bouwen, or close-fronted dress of an unmarried woman, a ‘millstone’ ruff, still in vogue in the 1730s, and a ‘diadem cap’ of silk or linen and pearl earrings. An expensive gold watch gleams against the piped black silk.