The Berger Collection

Peter Troueil (active ca. 1636)
Marie Nichols, 1636
Oil on canvas
Signed, Petrus Troueil / Pinxit, and inscribed, Effigies Marie Nichols. / Aetatis Suae 31 / 1636
29 1/4 x 24 1/2 in. (74.5 x 62.5 cm)

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This somber portrait shows Marie Nichols dressed in conventional seventeenth-century widow's attire, or "weeds," as they were called. She wears a black cap draped over her head, which sometimes included a point at the front known as a "widow's peak." Widows often wore this simple garment for many years, so the picture may have been painted some time after the death of Marie's husband. Another typical attribute of the widow of this period was the profusion of black threads (or "lovers' knots"), which she wore around her wrists and also used to attach her late husband's rings to her dress. Mrs. Nichols has three such rings attached to her dress and also wears one prominently on her thumb, a sign of her continued reverence to her husband's memory.


Sotheby's, February 5, 1969, lot 42; private collection, U.K.; Sotheby's, London, April 8, 1998, lot 69


Literature: E. Waterhouse, The Dictionary of 16th and 17th Century British Painters, 1988, p. 264, repr. (as by Nicholas Troilus)

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