The present picture demonstrates why Philip van Dyck became one of the most sought-after painters in The Hague during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. His refined genre subjects and elegant portrait style proved enormously popular and earned him the sobriquet 'little van Dyck'. The artist first studied in the studio of Arnold Boonen, which he joined at the age of thirteen in 1696; he remained in Amsterdam until 1708 when he is recorded in Middelburg, and by 1718 had settled in The Hague. In 1725 he went to Kassel where he became court painter for Landgraf Wilhelm VIII producing numerous portraits of various members of the princely family. At the same time he became an art dealer and was active in the formation of the collections of amongst others Wassenaer, van Dishoek and van Schuylenburgh. For the latter's house in The Hague (now the German Embassy), he painted a ceiling showing the Sacrifice of Iphigenia and several overdoors. Van Dyck was himself a notable collector and at the time of his death was recorded as owning 165 paintings.
The treatment of the present work is partly indebted to Nicolaes Maes and Caspar Netscher but imbued with a greater sense of French elegance. The theme, in which a mother is shown at a casement with a child, is repeated in a number of other pictures by the artist; for instance, a Lady playing a Lute with a young Boy at a Window, sold, Sotheby's, New York, 10 January 1991, lot 93 ($33,000), and a picture showing Two Girls at a Window, dated 1717, sold, Sotheby's, London, 5 July 1967, lot 116 (£1,300), and subsequently with Richard Green, London. The shimmering quality of the drapery and the sophisticated handling of both the still-life and the landscape background would indicate a later dating for the present work.