A lady seated holding a small dog

Caspar previously attributed to Netscher, 1639 - 1684

A lady seated holding a small dog

Caspar previously attributed to Netscher 1639 - 1684


It is difficult to relate this unsigned picture to any known portrait by Netscher and it is probably the work of a poorly trained provincial painter. It shows a young lady in seventeenth-century dress, with her hair pulled tightly back. She is seated, with a small white, black and brown spaniel curled in her lap. The figure painting is awkward and relates poorly to the background, whose chequered floor slopes unconvincingly. Toward the middle of the seventeenth century, love poems and songbooks were becoming fashionable with the middle classes in Holland. The poems of Petrarch were adopted by the Dutch as part of this romanticism. Depictions of young women with lap dogs proliferated, the suggestion being that the lover looking at the painting envies the little dog in his mistress's lap. As the poet and playwright Joan Blasius wrote: ‘Fortunate little dog, your prosperous lot is envied:/ Fortunate little dog, that so often enjoyed Celestyne's lap,/And, to my regret, was caressed by her so softly.' (Blasius, J., Fidaments Kusjes, mine-wysen en by-rymen aan Celestyne, Amsterdam, 1663)

Object Name

A lady seated holding a small dog


unframed: 25.3cm x 21.7cm
framed: 36.4cm x 32.4cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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