Scullery Maid


Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

In a society that equated domestic cleanliness with moral virtue, this kitchen maid would have scored highly with her array of scoured pots, pans, fire irons and kitchen implements. A threat to her ostentatious goodness has appeared in the form of the man in the doorway, but her knowing look at the viewer suggests she is well able to control any disruption.

In fact, an extremely delicately-painted spider’s web, complete with spider, stretched between the hat and the top corner of the door, might be a clue that this woman’s intentions may not be as innocent as they may seem - is she in fact out to ‘trap’ her man? Or is the spider simply an emblem of industry?

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  • Title: Scullery Maid
  • Date: c.1660
  • Physical Dimensions: w784 x h558 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Panel
  • School: Dutch
  • Provenance: Bequest of Miss Gibbs, 1951.
  • Acquisition Method: Gibbs, Miss (Bequest, 1951)


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