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Oil painting - A Young Girl Wearing a Lace Collar
  • A Young Girl Wearing a Lace Collar
    Honthorst, Gerrit van, born 1592 - died 1656
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A Young Girl Wearing a Lace Collar

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Utrecht (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1635 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Honthorst, Gerrit van, born 1592 - died 1656 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on oak panel

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Claude D. Rotch

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656) was the son of a tapestry designer. He trained in the studio of Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651) and must have attended the academy for life drawing in Rome in the 1610s, where he refined his candle-light technique under the influence of Caravaggio (1571-1610). He became a member of the Utrecht Guild of St Luke in 1622 and turned from mainly religious to Arcadian and domestic subjects and portraits. He worked for prestigious patrons such as King Charles I, Prince Frederick Henry of Orange and Price Christian IV of Denmark.

This portrait of a young girl was formerly ascribed to the Amsterdam painter Dirck Santvoort (1610-80) and was then attributed to a follower of Gerrit van Honthorst, one of the most famous exponents of the Utrecht Caravaggisti. This portrait presents indeed many similarities with other portraits by Gerrit van Honsthorst in the treatment of the very refined lace, the smooth hair, and the fine linear round eyes. The execution is relatively close to the Portrait of Prince Edward, Louvre, Paris and the Portrait of a Lady, Grenoble Museum (France): apart from the depiction of the same lace on the collars, they bear the same type of features and this similarity is especially striking between Prince Edward and the V&A portrait. They both are represented with a long oval shaped face and the same somehow austere facial expression. The big difference is in the rendering of the mouth that Hornsthorst usually depicts fleshier and paler. Many of Honthorst's portraits were, such as the present one, inserted in a dark oval setting onto the neutral background. To judge from the costume, the date is ca. 1635 and the whole picture reveals sharper outlines and edges characteristic of his later works. The colour scheme is however slightly yellowish compare with an authentic painting by the artist but this may results from a dirty varnish. The attribution of the painting is still debated as it could well be an authentic work by the Utrecht master. Nevertheless some weakness in the rendering of the fabrics and the incongruous mouth led specialists to think that it was more reasonable to attribute it to the immediate circle of Honthorst.

Physical description

A young girl wearing a lace collar hold by a buckle within a oval setting; she has brown hair and wears a pearl necklace and pearl earings.

Place of Origin

Utrecht (probably, painted)


ca. 1635 (painted)


Honthorst, Gerrit van, born 1592 - died 1656 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on oak panel


Height: 74.7 cm approx., Width: 59.6 cm approx.

Object history note

Historical significance: Although van Honthorst began his career by developing Caravaggism in Utrecht, he turned to a more profitable production in the 1630s, about the time when he received an important commission from Charles I: a large historical portrait of Frederick V, King of Bohemia, and his Queen, Elizabeth Stuart, Daughter of James I and their Children,(1629; Marienburg, Prinz Ernst August van Hannover). This work which had an immediate success diverted van Honhorst's talent into two new directions: courtly portraiture and large-scale allegorical paintings. This painting is a good example of Honthorst new style of the 1630s. He painted then many patricians portraits and was firmly established in the courtly circles of The Hague although he continued to reside in Utrecht. However his portraits are not as innovative as his early production that includes caravaggesque works, in which he developed an impressive handling of candle-light effects, and merry company compositions characterised by a vivid palette. He is usually recorded as one of the greatest exponents of Caravaggism in Utrech along with Hendrick Ter Brugghen(1588-1629) and Dirck van Baburen (ca.1595-1624).

Historical context note

Dutch portraits developed significantly during the second half of the 17th century. Individual portraits moved from being primarily intimate works preserved within private settings into more public objects which were positioned more visibly within the domestic interior. A great majority of these were commissioned by well-to-do citizens, whether prosperous merchants and professionals, or members of the city patriciates. Two cities were at the forefront at the turning of the 1630s: Amsterdam and The Hague. Amsterdam had the widest choice of painters and the greatest demand for portraiture.

Descriptive line

Oil on panel. A Young Girl Wearing Lace, style of Gerard van Honthorst, ca. 1635

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 148, cat. no. 175.

Production Note

Even though Honthorst supplied The Hague demand for portraiture, he still resided and painted in Utrecht. The frame is was made ca.1700.


Oil; Panel



Subjects depicted

Portrait; Girls; Lace


Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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