• I
  • Josef Israëls
A Sea Urchin

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A Sea Urchin
This picture is thought to have been painted near the Dutch seaside town of Scheveningen (now a sub-district of The Hague). Israëls shows a young girl, probably daughter of one of the local fisherman, paddling in the sea and playing with a toy sail boat. In the background, a real fishing boat (‘bomschuiten’) sails across the horizon. The motif of children playing runs throughout Israëls’ work. He focuses on the innocence of their activities, often contrasted with the harsh lives of their working parents. Pictures such as this had a strong influence on the work of the Scottish painter William McTaggart. The two artists met when McTaggart visited Israëls at The Hague during a short tour of Europe in 1882.

Glossary Open


A distinctive element in a work of art or design.



  • Acc. No. NG 1061
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 25.40 x 19.00 cm
  • Credit Bequest of Hugh A Laird 1911