During the seventeenth century, artists sought increasingly to capture the youthful features of children studied from life, rather than to define their sitters through the conventions of adult portraiture. This engaging, perceptively painted portrait of a young girl is a beautiful example of the care and sensitivity which emerged in the genre of child portraiture during this period. Dressed in contemporary clothes, with a broad soft collar and closely fitting white cap, the frank, slightly apprehensive gaze of the sitter gives an immediacy to the portrait and suggests that the picture was made ad vivum. Indeed, the scale of the panel and the freedom with which the features and costume of the sitter are rendered, with the ground left visible in several areas, likewise suggests this and indicates that the work may have been a sketch for a later, more finished portrait. The study has previously been identified as the work of two of the leading Flemish portraits of the mid-seventeenth century, both of whom excelled in the depiction of children. Jacob van Oost worked primarily in Bruges and his ability to capture not only the features but also character of his young sitters, as with the small baby and her brother in his Portrait of a Bruges Family (Bruges, Groeningemuseum), could have certainly informed the creation of the present picture. The keen observation of the sitter’s features and the treatment of the fall of light across them is also very similar to the work of Gonzales Coques, whose portraits of children, like his A Gentleman with His Two Daughters (London, Wallace Collection), display a similar sensitivity to his sitters’ characters.