Hals pays great attention to detail in the portrayal of this woman's elegant attire, which is characteristic of the period around 1640, when this picture was probably painted. She wears a large, flat three-tiered collar, silver bow and wide lace-trimmed cuffs. In her left hand she holds a fan made of feathers set in a gold mount, suspended from a golden chain.

Although the sitter has not been identified, the elegant dress and jewellery suggest that she may have been the wife of a wealthy citizen of Haarlem. Similiar clothes are worn by the woman depicted in the National Gallery's 'Portrait of a Man, a Woman and a Boy in a Room' by Pieter Codde, which is dated 1640, and in the 'Portrait of a Woman' by Johannes Conelisz. Verspronck (Enschede, Rijksmuseum Twenthe) which was painted in the same year.

Key facts

Artist dates
1582/3 - 1666
Full title
Portrait of a Woman with a Fan
Date made
about 1640
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
79.8 x 59 cm
Acquisition credit
Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number
Location in Gallery