Woman Playing a Theorbo
Woman Playing a Theorbo

Woman Playing a Theorbo

Jacob Duck (Dutch, c.1600-1667)

Not Currently on View
Image Licensing

The domestic life of women was a favorite theme for Dutch genre painters such as the Utrecht artist Jacob Duck. Often, as here, the scene includes accessories that suggest an underlying moral message. On the dressing table, a mirror sits ready for the girl to inspect herself, but she fritters away her time playing music. The old woman points ominously toward an hourglass and a skull, as if to warn her that beauty, youth and health are only transitory.

Von Kraker (or von Kracker?). {1} Edgar Speyer [1862-1932], London, England, then New York; {2} By descent to his step-daughter, Mrs. J. Robert Hewitt, née Enid Virginia Howland, New York; {3} Sale at (Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, New York) in 1956; {4} (Jack Partridge, North Edgecomb, Maine); Mr. and Mrs. Arthur W. S. Herrington [1891-1970], Indianapolis, Indiana; {5} Given to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1960 (60.189).

{1} This name is listed as a former owner in the Parke-Bernet 1956 auction catalogue (as “Geh. Reg. [Geheimer Regierungs] Rat von Kraker”), but this information has not been verified.
{2} Speyer’s collection of art is discussed in P.M. Turner, “The House and Collection of Mr. Edgar Speyer,” The Burling ton Magazine 5 (September 1904), pp. 544-555, although this painting is not mentioned and it is not known when it entered Speyer’s collection.
{3} See “Miss Enid Howland to wed J.R. Hewitt,” New York Times, 13 August 1919.
{4} Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, Valuable and Important Old Masters and XIX Century Paintings, Property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. J. Robert Hewitt , 29 February 1956, no. 15 (ill.) as by “Franz van Mieris the Elder”.
{5} See letter from Herrington, dated 4 September 1962, in IMA Historical File (60.189).

Object Information

Jacob Duck (Dutch, c.1600-1667)
creation date
early 1660s
oil on panel
12-1/2 x 10-1/8 in.
21 x 18-5/8 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. A. W. S. Herrington
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

You May Also Like