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Maker Once Known
Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Top-knot Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Top-knot
1693 1693

A woman looks out at the viewer with raised brows and inquisitive eyes. She holds a book in her right hand and a closed fan in her left. The inscription at the left edge of the painting announces her mature age of fifty-nine, which likely explains her sombre yet quite fancy costume dominated by black and white. Her plain jacket, closed with a tight row of buttons, is trimmed at the neck and wrists with a loose double ruff. A woven gold chain wrapped in several loops around her neck provides a certain, if conservative, indication of her wealth, as do the broad gold rings on her thumbs. Even the book is finished with silver corners and clasps. The most spectacular component, however, is her headdress. A high loop spanned with fabric and trimmed with ribbon bows and a double frill over a lace cap that runs atop the forehead drops down into a disk-like shape over the ears. This elaborate accessory, known in continental Europe as a frelange or fontange, enjoyed wide popularity in the 1680s and 1690s. In England, it was known as a “top-knot” and worn by women of nearly all social ranks who followed fashion, including royalty.

 
Maker Once Known
German German
Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Top-knot Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Top-knot
1693 1693
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
height / width: 63.50 x 50.80 cm; 25.00 x 20.00 in.
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1991 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1991
34-020.17

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