About this artwork

Hals’s bravura brushwork and subtle use of white and black are evident in the dazzling variety of tones and textures of the lady’s outfit. (Van Gogh later marvelled at Hals’s range of ‘twenty seven blacks’.) The lady remains unidentified, but she must have been a burgher of good standing, as she wears the height of fashion. At the time this portrait was painted, large kerchiefs worn over smaller neckerchiefs had replaced big ruffs (often known as ‘millstone collars’), and the ‘tip cap’ (titmuts) worn on top of long hair is only a hint at the previously worn cap. The portrait is a companion to her husband’s portrait, also in the collection of the National Gallery of Scotland.

  • title: A Dutch Lady
  • accession number: NG 692
  • artist: Frans HalsDutch (about 1580/85 - 1666)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1643 - 1645
  • measurements: 115.00 x 85.80 cm (framed: 144.70 x 114.90 x 9.40 cm)
  • credit line: Presented by William McEwan 1885

Frans Hals

Frans Hals

Hals’s fame rests on his lively and spirited portraits, although he also painted some religious works and genre scenes. He worked almost exclusively in Haarlem, where he developed a remarkable fluency in painting and achieved a sense of immediacy and spontaneity through his animated brushwork. This was invariably combined with animated compositions, especially in group portraits of members of the civic guard and the city’s regents. He lived a long and productive life, and is today known especially for his series of large-scale group portraits, executed for his native Haarlem. His work was much admired by artists such as Manet and the Impressionists in the nineteenth century.