This picture was probably painted in the early 1650s, when Steen was living in The Hague. Steen is gently mocking the old woman who peers through the spectacles offered to her by the itinerant pedlar. This painting had a companion piece showing a fortune teller when it was sold in the Netherlands in 1171, 1778 and 1800.

Key facts

Artist dates
1626 - 1679
Full title
A Pedlar selling Spectacles outside a Cottage
Date made
about 1650-3
Medium and support
Oil on oak
24.6 x 20.3 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number
Location in Gallery