Hals’s bravura brushwork and subtle use of white and black are evident in the dazzling variety of tones and textures of the lady’s outfit. (Van Gogh later marvelled at Hals’s range of ‘twenty seven blacks’.) The lady remains unidentified, but she must have been a burgher of good standing, as she wears the height of fashion. At the time this portrait was painted, large kerchiefs worn over smaller neckerchiefs had replaced big ruffs (often known as ‘millstone collars’), and the ‘tip cap’ (titmuts) worn on top of long hair is only a hint at the previously worn cap. The portrait is a companion to her husband’s portrait, also in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery.