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Dutch, Portrait of a Lady with a Fan

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Lady with a Fan
Artist Dutch
Date made 1647
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 84.8 × 69.9 cm
Inscription summary Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lt.-Col. J.H. Ollney, 1837
Inventory number NG140
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Lady with a Fan

The young woman in this portrait is shown half length, hands folded in the conventional way for women sitters at this time. We don’t know who she is, or who painted her. Her dress is demure but fashionable and costly. She wears satin and lace, and pearls round both wrists, round her neck and on the little cap at the back of her head. She holds a fan in slender fingers, a sign of gentility.

The two lions in the diamond at the top left corner of the picture have been suggested as part of the coat of arms of the Barons of Basseghem, near Bruges. The painting is dated 1647, when Bruges was in the Southern Netherlands, yet the style suggests a painter from Amsterdam in the north.

Whoever she is, the artist has shown her with the trace of a smile playing about her mouth and in the softness of her eyes as she looks out at us.

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