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A Woman at Her Mirror

Photo credit: The Wallace Collection

How you can use this image

All rights reserved.

This image can be used for non-commercial research or private study purposes, and other exceptions to copyright permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

For all other types of use please visit the owning collection’s website for more information about permitted uses and licensing.


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In seventeenth-century Dutch painting the mirror, which generally symbolised vanity or human frailty, could also connote lasciviousness or voluptuousness. The woman holds a double sided ivory comb in her right hand. In the emblematic literature of the day the comb served as a reminder of the dual nature of earthly goods, which could be employed for either virtue or vice. The picture can thus be read as an allegory of the dangers of concentrating too much on the physical and the need to pay attention to the inner spirit as well as to outward appearances.

  • Date


  • Medium

    oil on oak panel

  • Measurements

    19.2 x 16.6 cm

  • Accession number


  • Acquisition method

    acquired by Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford, at an unknown date; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897


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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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