Ter Borch’s oeuvre consists largely of intimate paintings of people absorbed in what they are doing. This woman writing a letter is the first of a whole series and was an example for other artists, like Vermeer.
The woman is sitting at a table and has pushed aside the costly oriental tablecloth. Next to her is a softly gleaming pewter inkstand. The action in the scene is minimal – we can imagine for ourselves what the woman is thinking and writing.