The Bleaching Ground
possibly Antwerp, the 1640s
Oil on canvas
85 x 120.5 cm
The women of an unidentified town gather for the first spring wash after the long winter months.
The setting is a communal bleaching ground with its wells and an open wash house to the right. This is located outside the town walls where there is space to lay out the linen in the sun.
Teniers specialised in scenes of peasant life, rooted in the passing seasons. Here, he matches their diverse activities with carefully observed characters and varied expressions.
Purchased 1947 (No. 47.1)