A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy

Object Details


A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy


Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, 1629 - 1684)




about 1660–1663


Oil on canvas

Object Number:



68.6 × 53.3 cm (27 × 21 in.)

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A mother butters bread while her son stands beside her, his head bent in prayer over the food. He is about to depart for the school seen through the open front door and identified by the sign reading schole. A small triangular niche above the inner doorway holds several books and a candlestick, perhaps alluding to the enlightenment that education brings. A small top lying on the floor in front of the chamber doorway may refer to a Dutch proverb that states a child and a top will both fall idle unless continually "whipped." Education and proper attitudes toward child-rearing were important issues in Protestant countries during the seventeenth century, and many paintings made during this period contain moral overtones and pious references.

The use of vertical lines and geometric forms conveys the orderly simplicity of this interior scene. Natural light spills through the front door and onto the tiled entryway. In contrast, the foreground interior is dark, emphasizing a solemn and reverent moment in Dutch domestic life.

- 1750

Private Collection [sold, Amsterdam, April 16, 1750, lot 4.]

by 1794/1795 - 1800

Jan Jansz. Gildemeester (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [sold, Gildemeester sale, Schley, Bosch, Yver, Roos, Pruysenaar, Amsterdam, June 11, 1800, lot 74, to Jan Yver.]
Source: Inventory of 1794/1795 (painting of Gildemeester's gallery)

1800 -

Jan Yver, born 1747

- 1823

Anton Meynts, died 1823 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [sold, Meynts sale, de Vries...Roos, Amsterdam, July 15, 1823, lot 44, through Albertus Brondgeest (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) to Johan Gijsbert Verstolk van Soelen.]

1823 - 1845

Johan Gijsbert, baron Verstolk van Soelen, 1776 - 1845 (The Hague, The Netherlands), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1845 - 1846

Estate of Johan Gijsbert, baron Verstolk van Soelen, 1776 - 1845, sold to Humphrey Saint-John Mildmay, 1846.

1846 - 1853

Humphrey Saint-John Mildmay, 1794 - 1853 (Shoreham Place, Kent, England), by inheritance to Humphrey Francis Mildmay, 1853.

1853 - 1866

Humphrey Francis Mildmay, 1825 - 1866 (Shoreham Place, Kent, England), by inheritance to Henry Bingham Mildmay, 1866.

1866 - 1893

Henry Bingham Mildmay, 1828 - 1905 (Shoreham Place, Kent, England) [sold, Mildmay sale, Christie's, London, June 24, 1893, lot 30, to Lawrie and Co. and Colnaghi.]


Lawrie and Co. (London, England)


and Colnaghi (London, England), sold to George A. Drummond, 1893.

1893 - 1910

Sir George A. Drummond, 1829 - 1910 (Montreal, Canada), by inheritance to his wife, Julia Drummond, 1910.

1910 - 1919

Lady Julia Drummond, 1860 - 1942 (Montreal, Canada) [sold, Drummond sale, Christie's, London, June 26, 1919, lot 185, to Knoedler & Company.]
Source: GRI, Knoedler & Company records, stock book 6, p. 199, no. 14755

1919 - 1920

M. Knoedler & Co. (New York), 1846 - 2011 (London, England; New York, New York; Paris, France), sold to Andrew W. Mellon, June 1920.
Source: GRI, Knoedler & Company records, sales book 11, p. 355, no.14755

1920 - 1929

Andrew W. Mellon, 1855 - 1937 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Washington, D. C.), sold to Julius Böhler, 1929.


Julius Böhler Gallery (Munich, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland), sold to Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1929.
Source: Knoedler's, Julius Böhler

1929 - 1947

Baron Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza, German, 1875 - 1947 (Schloss Rohoncz, Rechnitz, Austria; Villa Favorita, Castagnola, Switzerland), by inheritance to his daughter, Gabrielle Thyssen-Bornemisza Bentinck, 1947

1947 - 1984

Baroness Gabrielle Thyssen-Bornemisza Bentinck (Paris, France; Düsseldorf, Germany), sold to Edward Speelman, Ltd., 1984.


Edward Speelman, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Royal Academy Exhibition 1876 (1876)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1876
Seventeenth Loan Exhibition of Paintings in Oil and Water Colours (November 29 to December 28, 1893)
  • Art Association of Montreal (Montréal), November 29 to December 28, 1893
Special Loan Exhibition: New Year's Day (January 1 to January 2, 1902)
  • Art Association of Montreal (Montréal), January 1 to January 2, 1902
Inaugural Loan Exhibition (December 9, 1912 to January 6, 1913)
  • Art Association of Montreal (Montréal), December 6, 1912 to January 6, 1913
A Catalogue of Paintings from the Collection of the Late Sir George Drummond (January 31 to March 16, 1918)
  • Art Association of Montreal (Montréal), January 31 to March 16, 1918
Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz Gemälde (1930)
  • Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Neue Pinakothek (Munich), 1930
Le Décor de la Vie Privée en Holland au XVIIe Siècle (February 1 to March 7, 1965)
  • Institut Néerlandais (Paris), February 1 to March 7, 1965
Choix de la Collection Bentinck (May 20 to June 28, 1970)
  • Institut Néerlandais (Paris), May 20 to June 28, 1970
Aus Hollands grosser Malerei Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf (February 4 to March 25, 1973)
  • Museum für Kulturgeschichte (Bielefeld), 1973
Pieter de Hooch (September 3, 1998 to February 27, 1999)
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery (London), September 3 to November 24, 1998
  • Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford), December 17, 1998 to February 27, 1999
Johannes Vermeer (February 18 to May 18, 2003)
  • Museo del Prado (Madrid), February 18 to May 18, 2003
Vermeer: La Ragazza alla Spinetta e i Pittori di Delft (April 15 to July 15, 2007)
  • Foro Boario (Modena), April 14 to July 15, 2007
Johannes Vermeer: Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (February 16 to March 31, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 16 to March 31, 2013

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