The Wallace Collection

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The Lace Maker
  • Pieter de Mare (1757 - 1796)
  • The Lace Maker
  • c.1780-96
  • Etching
  • Etching
  • Inscription: '39'
    Inscription: 'P. de M.f'
    Inscription: 'C NETSCHER 1664'
    Inscription: 'P773' Written in pencil
  • P773
  • Not on display
  • This etching was produced by Pieter de Mare in the 18th century after Caspar Netscher’s undisputed masterpiece, The Lace Maker (also in the Wallace Collection, see P237). Netscher’s painting is one of the most successful representations of idealised female virtue in Dutch art. In the 17th century, women were frequently depicted as dangerous creatures, prone to vice if left to their own devices. Contemporary moralists recommended marriage and housewifery as the only fit occupations for women. Within the home, one of the housewife’s principal duties was to maintain its order and cleanliness, implied in this picture by the broom propped against the wall on the left. The girl’s modest woollen dress implies her lack of vanity, while her absorption in the delicate and difficult task of lace-making underlines her seriousness and moral rectitude. Such an image of the demure housewife, prudent and chaste, had wider implications too, since the home and its correct organization were considered of supreme importance in determining the moral fate of Dutch society as a whole.

    De Mare incorrectly transcribed the date as 1664.