A Woman Seated Smoking a Pipe (copy of original)

Gabriel Metsu (after), 1629 - 1667

A Woman Seated Smoking a Pipe (copy of original)

Gabriel Metsu (after) 1629 - 1667


A young woman sits smoking at a table covered with a heavy cloth or rug. She holds a long, white clay pipe in her left hand and tips up a bowl with her right. A jug and a twist of tobacco are on the table. There is a plain dark background. Pipes were first smoked in England at the beginning of the 17th century and the habit spread rapidly across Europe, although it was usually confined to taverns and inns. Long clay pipes were a Dutch invention, first used by soldiers. Tax on tobacco became an important source of revenue for the Dutch government and smoking accessories, such as chairs, braziers and pipes, found a ready market. It made financial sense to promote what had initially been a vulgar habit as a respectable middle class pastime, even among women. The painting may carry a moral message about the dangers to this woman's health. This is thought to be a contemporary copy of a lost original by Gabriel Metsu, a Dutch painter known for his scenes of everyday life, history paintings and portraits.

Object Name

A Woman Seated Smoking a Pipe (copy of original)

Creators Name

Gabriel Metsu (after)

Date Created

1650 (circa)


unframed: 19.8cm x 16.6cm
framed: 35cm x 31.8cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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