The Berger Collection

Paul van Somer (1576-1621)
Portrait of a Young Lady, ca. 1620
Oil on panel
35 1/2 x 27 3/4 in. (90.5 x 70.5 cm)

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When the Flemish-born artist Paul van Somer came to England in 1616, women's fashions were undergoing a radical change. The constrained and formal clothes of the Elizabethan period were being abandoned for a more comfortable and easier look. Dresses were becoming looser, their necklines lower, and their waistlines higher. Materials, jewelry, and accessories all became simpler. This young lady's dress - with its high waistline, defined by the silk ribbon and bow belt, and low neckline - exhibits the fashions of the day. While the lace is intricately patterned, her jewelry is simplicity itself, with pearls for drop earrings and translucent beads for the bracelet.


Private collection, U.K.; Sotheby's, London, April 9, 1997, lot 9

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