A Singing Practice

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A Singing Practice about 1655

On Display Scottish National Gallery

A young woman with her back to us holds a song book. The relationship between her and the seated figures may be intentionally ambiguous. The man’s keen interest in the girl’s singing suggests his role might that of suitor rather than tutor. The older woman enjoying a drink may have been instrumental in arranging the ‘lesson’. The restrained composition complements the scene’s subtle intrigue and also emphasises the shimmering satins and silks of the characters’ clothes. It is one of at least three versions of the same theme.

Glossary Open


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.



  • Acc. No. NGL 074.46
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 73.80 x 79.60 cm
  • Credit Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland (Bridgewater Loan, 1945)