Technical Description

The Lacemaker (De kantwerkster)

The support is a slightly open, plain-weave canvas with a thread count of 12 x 12 per cm: The canvas has been glued onto an oak panel measuring 23.9 x 20.5 cm. X-radiography shows line of tack holes and cracks from former fold lines at the left and right edges. Strainer bar marks are evident also at the sides 2 cm from the fold lines. Along the top edge the line of cracking is 1.4 cm. from the edge of the canvas and along the bottom edge 2 cm. Assuming that the strainer bars were of equal width, this would suggest that only the tacking edge has been removed from the bottom edge and the tacking edge plus 6 mm. from the top edge. This would give original measurements of 24.5 x 19.3 cm. making the painting slightly narrower and taller than at present.

The thin, gray-brown ground chalk, lead-white, and umber. The red; pink and light blue areas were painted wet-in-wet. Brushmarks impart texture to the background paint, and impasto touches are found on the highlights. X-radiograph shows a pentimento: the knee was lower so that a triangle of wall was visible under the tabletop. The blue in the tablecloth is discolored. The flattened tacking edges along the left and right sides have been retouched.

* Johannes Vermeer (exh. cat., National Gallery of Art and Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis - Washington and the Hague, 1995, edited by Arthur Wheelock)


The lacemaker signature, Johannes Vermeer

inscribed upper-left on the grey wall:
IVMeer (IVM in ligature)

The Lacemkaer signature, Johannes Vermeer