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A pretty girl, modelled on Terborch’s half-sister Gesina, sits at a table, its covering pushed aside to allow her to work. Instead, her sewing lies forgotten in its basket as she reads a letter. Young people reading or writing letters in Dutch paintings of the period are indicators of amorous correspondence and intrigue. In this case the distracting power of love is emphasised by the heroine’s neglect of her proper household duties.
oil on canvas
H 44.2 x W 32.2 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1848; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897