Jacques Bellange, Standing Figure of a Young Woman, a pen and ink colour wash

France, probably around AD 1610

Bellange (1575-1616) was court painter to Charles III, Duke of Lorraine (reigned 1545-1608) in Nancy, now part of France. This sketch was perhaps an initial design for a masque or a similar entertainment at the French court. A dainty, young woman lifts up the enormous volume of her skirt and manages to stay delicately poised, her feet at right angles, as if in a ballet step. She wears a simple bonnet which is almost indiscernible among her curly locks. She glances out, beyond the picture plane, to someone or something which lightly engages her attention.

Through the almost translucent blue and grey wash, Bellange has suggested the differing depths of shade on the subject's dress: light grey for the palest shadow and flimsiest drapery, darker blue for the areas of deepest shadow. The contour of her dress and body is outlined in brown ink.

Bellange was a prolific etcher, but it is not possible to connect this drawing with any known work by the artist. There are, however, similarities in costume between this woman and the elaborately dressed female figures in Bellange's series of etchings, the Hortulanae ('Gardeners') of around 1610-20. Unfortunately almost none of Bellange's court art survives today and he is known for his drawings and etchings. His style is mannered, with elongated figures in complex poses and often appear in flamboyant, almost theatrical costumes.

Find in the collection online

More information


J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

A. Griffiths and C. Hartley, Jacques Bellange, c. 1575-1616, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)


Height: 401.000 mm
Width: 247.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1870-5-14-1207



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore