One of Haarlem’s most prolific artists, Adriaen van Ostade painted daily life in rural villages, from bawdy tavern and barn scenes to more dignified portrayals. In this peaceful domestic scene, a mother is cleaning mussels as two of her children and the family dog play nearby. An older sister entertains the baby while the father stands in the doorway watching over the scene. Laundry is drying on a line attached to the chicken coop, vines partially obscure a dovecote, and two beehives are stored on a shelf above the water pump. In contrast to the bricked-in urban courtyards portrayed by Pieter de Hooch (1629–1684), this well-maintained brick home has a hard-packed dirt yard, characteristic of a village dwelling. The painting exudes a sense of harmony and well-being.

Adriaen van Ostade entered the artists’ guild of Haarlem in 1634, probably after studying under Frans Hals (c. 1582/1583–1666). Van Ostade became the guild’s headman in 1647, and that may have been the occasion for which Hals painted the portrait of Van Ostade that is part of the National Gallery of Art collection (NGA 1937.1.70). Jan Steen (1625/1626–1679) and Adriaen’s younger brother Isack van Ostade (1621–1649), whose own scenes of village life can be seen at the National Gallery of Art, both studied with Adriaen. The two Van Ostade brothers paid remarkable attention to the texture of such common surfaces as thatched roofs, crumbling bricks, and cracked windowpanes.


  • Title: The Cottage Dooryard
  • Creator: Adriaen van Ostade
  • Date Created: 1673
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 44 x 39.5 cm (17 5/16 x 15 9/16 in.) framed: 74.3 x 69.2 x 7.6 cm (29 1/4 x 27 1/4 x 3 in.)
  • Provenance: Adriaen Swalmius [1689-1747], Schiedam;[1] (sale, Rotterdam, 15 May 1747, no. 2); Jacques Ignace de Roore [1686-1747], Antwerp; (his estate sale, The Hague, 4 September 1747, no. 84);[2] Pieter Bisschop [c. 1690-1758] and Jan Bisschop [1680-1771], Rotterdam; purchased 1771 with the Bisschop collection by Adrian Hope [1709-1781] and his nephew, John Hope [1737-1784], Amsterdam; by inheritance after Adrian Hope's death to John Hope, Amsterdam and The Hague; by inheritance to his sons, Thomas Hope [1769-1831], Adrian Elias Hope [1772-1834], and Henry Philip Hope [1774-1839], Bosbeek House, near Heemstede, and, as of 1794, London, where the collection was in possession John's cousin, Henry Hope [c. 1739-1811]; by inheritance 1811 solely to Henry Philip Hope, Amsterdam and London, but in possession of his brother, Thomas Hope, London; by inheritance 1839 to Thomas' son, Henry Thomas Hope [1808-1862], London, and Deepdene, near Dorking, Surrey; by inheritance to his wife, Adèle Bichat Hope [d. 1884], London and Deepdene; by inheritance to her grandson, Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton-Hope, 8th duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme [1866-1941], London; sold 1898 to (Asher Wertheimer, London); sold 1899 to Peter A.B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift 1942 to NGA. [1] For a detailed discussion of the provenance, see Ben Broos, _Great Dutch Paintings from America_, exh. cat. Mauritshuis, The Hague; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Zwolle and The Hague, 1990: 355-359. [2] The seller's name in the 1747 sale catalogue is given as Jaques de Roore; he was a painter and art dealer in Antwerp. There are many variants of his name in the literature.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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