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Quiringh van Brekelenkam, Interior of a Tailor's Shop

Key facts
Full title Interior of a Tailor's Shop
Artist Quiringh van Brekelenkam
Artist dates active 1644; died 1668
Date made about 1655-61
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 42.7 × 50 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2549
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Interior of a Tailor's Shop
Quiringh van Brekelenkam

Brekelenkam painted tailors in their shops many times, as well as depicting weavers, spinners, and seamstresses – all trades which thrived as part of Leiden’s prosperous seventeenth-century textile industry. He repeated the same basic composition of the tailor sitting cross-legged in front of the window with two assistants, but in each painting slightly changed and rearranged the figures and the details of the interior.

Typically, only the tailor glances up from his work to engage the eye of the viewer – as though we are a potential customer, perhaps – while the others continue to work diligently. Although this is an imaginary scenario, there’s no doubt that the basic set up is a standard one. A tailor with a small workshop would have worked with his apprentices in his front room in just this way, and the details of the interior are also lifelike.

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