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Caspar Netscher, Portrait of a Lady and a Girl

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Lady and a Girl
Artist Caspar Netscher
Artist dates 1635/6 - 1684
Date made 1679
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 47.5 × 38.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1913
Inventory number NG2953
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Lady and a Girl
Caspar Netscher

In Netscher’s painting, the hand resting gently on the little girl’s shoulder suggests that the woman is her mother. There is a faint likeness: the little girl still has the rounded cheeks of childhood, but the eyes and mouth of the two are similar.

Netscher was famous for his brilliant representation of rich fabrics, particularly the satin of both gowns here. These are perhaps dulled with age and dirt, and have lost their original sheen, but are still sumptuous. Though the pair are dressed in high fashion it is restrained in design and colour, intended to show a refined taste, borne out by the dignified posture of the mother and the unusually plain hairstyle of the girl.

Mother and child both hold an orange and there are more on the mother’s lap. The ruling family of the Netherlands was the House of Orange and perhaps the sitters were their supporters.

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