Self-portrait, Gesina ter Borch, 1661
Like other members of her illustrious artist family, Gesina ter Borch was a gifted artist. Three albums assembled by her have been preserved, including a scrapbook containing portraits by her of well-to-do people in everyday settings. Young women holding fans feature in many of these watercolours, including this self-portrait. The VOC imported Chinese fans from the beginning of the 17th century. Even though they were also subsequently made in the northern Netherlands, fans continued to be seen as an exotic accessory.