Gerrit Dou, 'The Young Mother', 1658
A young mother sits by the window with her needlework. Beside her, a serving girl kneels next to the cradle. It is painted by Gerrit Dou, the forefather of the Leiden ‘fijnschilders’, or fine painters. He worked with such precision, you can hardly see the individual brushstrokes.
In 1660, this painting was part of a diplomatic gift from Holland to the new king of England, Charles II. On receiving it, the kind immediately offered Gerrit Dou a permanent position at court. But Dou declined his offer.