The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
A Young Woman in a Kitchen
  • Nicolas Lancret (1690 - 1743)
  • A Young Woman in a Kitchen
  • France
  • c.1720-1725
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 29.7 x 25.5 cm
  • P378
  • Small Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • A young woman seated in a kitchen inspects herself for fleas, a scene intended primarily to titillate.
    The figure has been added by Lancret to an earlier, probably Flemish painting. It originally showed an interior with an empty chair and a dog that was examining the seat of the chair. Lancret added the female figure and the still-life on the table to the right and changed the back of the chair. Dendrochronological analysis of the board suggests that the original painting was not painted before the 1680s.An earlier attribution of the interior to Willem Kalf is unfounded. The figure can on stylistic grounds be attributed to Lancret. Similar cases of older (or, in fact, contemporary) paintings that were embellished by French figure painters were very common in eighteenth-century collections and are documented in numerous sale catalogues. In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these figurew were often removed, even if they had been painted by very important painters, because they were seen as later additions. The Wallace Collection painting is a rare survival of this once common practice.