Portrait of a Lady

Object Details


Portrait of a Lady


Jan van de Velde (Dutch, 1593 - 1641)






Pen and brown ink on vellum


9.8 × 7.6 cm (3 7/8 × 3 in.)

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The identity of the sitter of this bust-length portrait is unknown but her costume indicates that she was a woman of considerable wealth. She wears a dark bodice, trimmed at the neck with a lace ruffle and a fur cape complemented by a fine necklace. An ornate headdress and, above her right temple, a jeweled pin with a plume of osprey feathers, complete her ensemble. Although formally attired, the young woman shows a slight smile and subtly tilts her head.

Jan van de Velde's drawing technique derived from his training as an engraver. He used a variety of fine, hatched lines to describe the soft contours of the face and distinctive texture of the fur. In capturing this likeness on a small sheet of precious vellum, Van de Velde also displays a miniaturist's touch; for example, the osprey plume is composed out of a handful of thin, parallel strokes.

- 1920

Francis Wellesley [sold, Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1920, lot 796.]

1920 - 1922

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, June 27, 1922, lot 21, to Robert Witt.]

1922 -

Robert Witt, British, 1872 - 1952

- 1977

Carl Robert Rudolf, British, born 1884 [sold, Sotheby's, Amsterdam, June 6, 1977, lot 144, to Paul Allen.]

1977 - 2003

Paul Allen (Amsterdam, Netherlands), sold through Johan Bosch van Rosenthal (Amsterdam, Netherlands) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003.

Casting Characters: Portraits and Studies of Heads (November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004
Paper Art: Finished Drawings in Holland 1590-1800 (September 6 to November 20, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 6 to November 20, 2005