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Jacob Ochtervelt, A Young Lady Trimming her Fingernails

Key facts
Full title A Young Lady trimming her Fingernails, attended by a Maidservant
Artist Jacob Ochtervelt
Artist dates 1634 - 1682
Date made probably 1670-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 74.6 × 59 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2553
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Young Lady Trimming her Fingernails
Jacob Ochtervelt

An elegantly dressed young woman is in the act of grooming herself – we see her cutting her fingernails with a pair of scissors. A maidservant brings a silver ewer and dish for washing hands, while the big basin in the left foreground probably serves to wash her feet and other parts of her body.

The scene takes place in a richly decorated interior. The table on the right is covered with a costly Turkish carpet, on which a mirror, a jewellery box and a string of pearls are placed. A large tapestry hanging on the back wall shows a narrative scene, but it can't be identified with certainty.

The silver ewer and basin appear in a number of boudoir scenes by Ochtervelt that can be dated to the early 1670s. These were probably painted shortly before or after the artist had moved from his native city of Rotterdam to Amsterdam.

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