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Possibly by Pieter van den Bosch, A Woman scouring a Pot

Key facts
Full title A Woman scouring a Pot
Artist Possibly by Pieter van den Bosch
Artist dates about 1613/15 - after 1663
Date made about 1650-60
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 19.4 × 25.8 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2551
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Woman scouring a Pot
Possibly by Pieter van den Bosch

A rather lonely figure, almost certainly the cook or maid in a prosperous Amsterdam household, is doing the washing up in a gloomy kitchen. She looks up and her face catches the light; we can see her tired, slightly careworn features. Her attention has clearly been caught by something outside the picture. Despite the distraction, she hardly breaks from her work, still keeping the pressure on the dish she is polishing. More pots are waiting in the washing tub in the shadows on the right while, by contrast, the results of her labour are nicely positioned to catch the light. Such dedicated attention to domestic duty would certainly have been considered admirable to a seventeenth-century audience. They would also have enjoyed the sense of calm, of the order and simplicity of daily routine which it evokes. The painting isn’t signed but it may be by Pieter van den Bosch, who specialised in this kind of genre painting.

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