The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
A Lady dressing her Hair
  • Gerard ter Borch (1617 - 1681)
  • A Lady dressing her Hair
  • Netherlands
  • c.1657 - c. 1658
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 36.6 x 28 cm
  • P235
  • East Galleries II
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Ter Borch is credited with inventing the high-life interior genre scene, which became so popular in Holland in the third quarter of the seventeenth century, and which has continued to enchant collectors ever since. One of his earliest themes was that of a Woman at her Toilet which he went on to repeat in many works of the 1650s, sometimes investing it with emblematic associations of sensuality, vanity or transience. The subject in the present picture is given added resonance by the presence of an unlit candle, which, according to the emblem books of Jacob Cats and Otto van Veen, symbolises the nature of Love, which may be rekindled in an instant. The Wallace Collection’s picture has been dated c.1657-8.