JONGH, Ludolf de
(b. 1616, Overschie, d. 1679, Hillegersberg)

Woman Receiving a Letter

Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 cm
Private collection

Luxury and sophistication abound in this painting. A liveried messenger has entered the vestibule of an elegant home and is received by the mistress. The messenger's large hound and the lady's dainty spaniel cleverly echo the interactions of the principal protagonists. The fairly large vestibule is paved with marble tile and adorned with elaborate, architectural ornamentation. Gilt-leather wall-panels are situated behind the seamstress to the left. The crowning embellishment of this vestibule however is the large painting representing Ovid's story of Diana and Actaeon, complete with a gold, auricular carved frame, a type that had become extremely fashionable by the 1660s.

De Jongh's signature was discovered on the painting of Diana and Actaeon only in 1938; hitherto, the Woman Receiving a Letter was attributed to Pieter de Hooch, thus constituting yet another example of the confusion once surrounding the work of these two native Rotterdamers.