One of the most successful and prominent artists of late Victorian London, Dutch-born Lawrence Alma-Tadema became famous for his large-scale classical history and genre paintings. This small study of his cousin was painted during the artist’s student years in Antwerp. Despite its limited audience and modest size, this portrait is fresh and accomplished. Sientje is seated in front of a wall hanging; the network of lines functions as an armature for the composition. The thirty-year-old Mennonite is a model of middle-class propriety: self-controlled and self-contained. Her blue-grey eyes, meeting ours, suggest her strength of character and intelligence. Alma-Tadema held on to this picture for nearly four decades.