The Child and the Doll
Haarlem, before 1679
Pen and ink and watercolour
Sheet 110 x 92 mm; mount 557 x 408 mm
In this gentle scene a family relaxes in the street, the mother and daughter playing happily with a doll. The quasi-domestic setting, including draped linen, cooking pot and toy doll foresee the little girl’s future as homemaker, wife and mother. The drawing captures the balance in childhood between education and enjoyment promoted in Dutch seventeenth-century art. The woman is both playing with her daughter and teaching her the skills she will require as an adult. Van Ostade is renowned for his colourful, idealised and often didactic portrayals of peasant life.
Purchased 1948 (No.48.11)