A Young Woman Writing

Subjects of this type are sometimes entitled 'The Magdalen Writing', but the lightening of the background around the girl's head is not a halo. Her costume is of about 1520; it is also depicted in two paintings, 'Woman weighing Gold' (Berlin, Staatliche Museen) and 'Woman playing a Spinet' (Worcester, Massachusetts, Worcester Art Museum), sometimes attributed to Jan van Hemessen.

The picture may have been painted in Antwerp. Figures of this sort were often painted by the artist known as the Master of the Female Half-Lengths.

Key facts

Artist dates
possibly documented 1519-20; died about 1556-7
Full title
A Young Woman Writing
Date made
about 1530
Medium and support
Oil on oak
28.2 × 24.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Probably presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number
Location in Gallery