A Lady and a Child Making Lace

The drawing depicts an intimate scene of a woman and young girl seated with their backs to the viewer. Although their faces are mostly concealed, the female figures are dressed in clothing and wear caps that are commonly found in 17th-century Dutch genre paintings and drawings. In addition, the figures sit on tall wooden chairs that are frequently depicted in 17th-century Dutch interiors. The woman at left turns her head to cast an attentive, supervisorial gaze at the young girl at right. Seated in a similar but smaller chair than her female companion, the young girl is shown absorbed in the painstaking task of making lace. The activity of lace-making was performed by Dutch women at home and celebrated by artists and writers in the Dutch Republic as a symbol of female industriousness and virtue.

Pen and brown ink, brown wash and black chalk (January 21, 1629)

by Gerard ter Borch (Dutch, 1617-1681)

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