Mor, as portraitist to the Hapsburg court and as a favoured painter of the merchants, clerics and scholars of the Netherlands, helped form the elite’s self-image. His portraits are both seemingly truthful and simultaneously ennobled – their careful, almost objective description balanced by a sense of grandeur. Self-consciously posed, the woman turns her head to confront us. For all the sense of character, the unknown sitter is very much a type: a dignified, virtuous woman, posed decorously, her gestures restrained, her dress sober but costly. It is both a portrait and the image of an ideal – the embodiment of how elite women were to act and wished to be perceived. Frans Pourbus the Elder (1545–1581) has been suggested as the artist. Frame: running moulding with carved and gilded ornament. Britain, late 17th – first half 18th century. Made for the work.