The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Portrait of an Elderly Woman
  • Jacob Adriaensz. Backer (1608 - 1651)
  • Portrait of an Elderly Woman
  • Netherlands
  • 1632
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 120 x 96.6 cm
    Object size: 145.6 x 122 x 10.5 cm
  • Inscription: 'Rembrandt f 1632'
    Inscription: 'AEt.69'
  • P89
  • Reserve Gallery
Further Reading
  • Typical of Backer’s restrained style, the present portrait may depict Anna Roefs (1562/3-1639) who lived in Amsterdam from at least 1626 until her death in 1639. A version of the same picture remains in the collection of her descendants today. The sitter is shown dressed in a black silk costume of the type affected by the respectable middle classes of the day. She is seated in an armchair similar to that in which Backer depicts the Dutch merchant Johannes Uyttenbogaert in a portrait dated 1638, which has led historians to propose a similar date for the present picture. The painting was probably acquired by the 3rd Marquess of Hertford. It was listed in the 1870 Hertford House inventory under an attribution to Rembrandt, and was exhibited as such at the Bethnal Green Museum in 1872-5. At the Royal Academy in 1889 it was described as a portrait of Rembrandt’s mother.