Painter/Artist: Jan Vermeer

Dutch School. “One of the rarest painters of Holland.”


A GIRL AT THE VIRGINALS In the centre, to the left of a room paved with black and white squares, a young lady is standing, seen almost at full length, in profile to the right, looking at us, her hands on the keys of the virginals. She is in a white satin skirt, and a bodice of blue silk with full sleeves. On the wall behind her is a picture of Cupid with a bow in a black frame, and to the left, next a lattice window, a landscape in a gilt frame. In the right foreground is a chain covered with blue velvet.


Formerly in the Solly Collection. Purchased in 1892.


TEMPTATION Behind a balustrade which stretches across the picture, and over which i s thrown a rich Oriental carpet and a fur mantle, are seen the half-length figures of a group of four people fronting us. To the right a girl in a lemon-yellow jacket and white shawl over her head, her right hand extended, her left holding a large wine-glass on a very small table in the corner of the balcony next to a decanter. Behind her, with his left arm passed over her shoulder, the hand resting on her bosom, and his right hand with a coin in it immediately above hers, stands a young man with long curls in a red coat, and a large grey hat with a feather cocked over his right eye. Both are looking downwards at the coin. To the left a young man in black slashed with white, a lace collar, and black hat, holding a beer-glass in his left hand and the top of a lute in his right. Between the two men is seen the eager face of an older woman in a black cloak and head-dress.

Signed and dated 1656.


WEINPROBE To the right of a small table covered with a patterned cloth, which stands near a window (on the left) in a bare tiled room, are a man standing and a woman sitting on a chair. The former has a cloak thrown in loose folds across his body, and a tall black hat with a wide brim. He stands facing us, looking down at the woman, his right hand holding a small jug on the table. The woman, whose face is concealed by a white sun-bonnet, sits nearly in profile, drinking out of a wine-glass held in her right hand, while her left rests in her lap. On our side of the table is a wooden chair with a cushion and some clothes on it; the only other furniture is a wooden bench under the window on the left, and a picture on the wall behind the table.

From Lord Francis Pelham-Clinton-Hope’s Collection.

THE WOMAN WITH THE PEARL NECKLACE A young woman in a loose tunic edged with ermine stands on the right, looking across a table to a small mirror on the wall on the extreme left. The light comes from a window beyond the mirror, falling on the plain back wall and on the woman. She is holding, with both hands upraised, the strings of a pearl necklace which she has just tied round her neck. In the right foreground is a plain chair, and on the left some draperies. Signed.

From the Svermondt Collection.


VIEW OF DELFT FROM THE CANAL Beyond the broad canal which runs right across the foreground lie the walls of Delft, with the Schiedam and Rotterdam Gates (the latter flanked by two towers), which are connected by an arched bridge, under which the canal enters the town. At the back rises the tower of the new church, and on the extreme left the steeple of the old. On the canal are several boats; in the left foreground is a piece of the nearer bank of the canal, where six people are sitting by a boat. The sky, with light clouds, takes up nearly two-thirds of the picture.

DIANA AND HER NYMPHS A group of five figures, all fully draped except one. Diana, seated on a rock in the centre, extends her left foot to a nymph kneeling in the right foreground, who is washing it. Between these two figures are another nymph sitting beside Diana holding her left foot in her right hand, and behind her a third standing looking down at them. The composition is balanced by another standing figure with her back to us on the left only partly draped, and in the left foreground a dog sitting and watching the proceedings. Background of trees and sky.

This was formerly attributed to Vermeer of Utrecht, but is now considered an early work of Vermeer of Delft.

PORTRAIT OF A GIRL (Girl With a Pearl Earring) Bust length, against a plain dark background, in a strong light from the left; the head, very slightly thrown back, is turned half towards us over the left shoulder, the eyes meeting ours, the lips parted. She wears a plain full cloak, above which is seen a strip of light drapery round the neck, and her head is bound turban-wise with a sash, the end of which hangs down over her back. In her ear is a very large drop pearl.


GIRL READING A LETTER A young woman, nearly full length, is standing in profile to the left, with her head slightly bent as she reads a letter which she is holding in both hands. She is bareheaded, in a loose blue jacket with short yellow sleeves and a green gown. The light falls from a window on the left (not in the picture) upon her and the plain grey wall behind her, on which is hanging a large map. On either side of her is a chair, and in the left foreground a table in shadow, on which is an open box.

THE LETTER Through an open door, not much more than a third of the width of the canvas, we look into a room paved with large squares of black and white, in which a woman in yellow is seated facing us, with a lute in her left hand and a letter in her right, which has apparently been handed to her by a maid-servant in blue, who stands behind her mistress’s chair to our left. The latter looks up at the former with a glance of surprise. Signed in large letters on the wall beside the servant.