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•D2333. Polychrome Octagonal Brush Back

Delft, circa 1760

The molded oval center painted with a seamstress wearing a dress patterned with œils-de-perdrix beneath a blue apron, seated on a yellow ladder-back chair amd warming her feet on a small stove, the brown-edged rim with a blue-ground border of iron-red and white scrolling vines issuing green leaves and pierced at the top with a suspension hole, and the unglazed underside pierced with holes for the bristles.

Length: 13.9 cm. (5.5 in.)

Aronson Antiquairs, Amsterdam; Dutch Private Collection

Described and illustrated in Aronson 2005, p. 33, no. 31

The daily activities of women were commonly depicted in seventeenth-century Dutch genre paintings. Needlework was such a common activity featured in Dutch art and Delftware, and is seen on the present brush back. Moralists often praised the housewife’s ability to do needlework as it represented diligence and a woman’s domestic virtue. The woman is intensely focused on her work, and represents a perfect depiction of femininity and domesticity. Although genre paintings are intended to represent reality, the depiction of domestic virtue in seventeenth century Dutch genre paintings is probably not an accurate representation of everyday life.

A blue and white plaque from cira 1745 with an interior scene of two ladies sewing, after a print by Geertruydt Roghman, is illustrated in Aronson 2008, p. 53, no. 26. A pair of brush backs of this uncommon octagonal shape and painted with a sportsman, is illustrated in Aronson 2003, p. 32, no. 290. An earlier octagonal example painted with a fashionable lady is illustrated in Vrienden van de Nederlandse Ceramik, 54, p. 16, no. 15; and another of circa 1725- 40, decorated with Asian-style flowers, is illustrated by Schaap, pp. 24 and 25.

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