Oil on canvas, 124.5cm by 99cm. Signed l.l.: J. Vandervaart.
Jan van der Vaart was the studio assistant of the immensely talented portrait painter William Wissing (1656-1687). He may have painted the draperies, flowers and backgrounds in Wissing’s portraits and it is thought that, when Wissing died suddenly at Burghley at the tragically early age of 31, van der Vaart inherited his studio and completed his unfinished paintings.
A Lady Williams was a mistress of James II, himself a patron of Wissing, and by extension of van der Vaart, and if this is she, it would explain the penitence associated with Mary Magdalene.