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The Pancake Cook by Adriaan de Lelie

""Adriaan de Lelie (1755-1820)

For more detail, Kevin and I go talk about this painting in this video.


Detail: tea pot, hearth, tile floor, ladies shoe, foot warmer, fry pan, large jar, basket, plate, apples, onions, table , rag, pitcher, cook, servant, simple servants clothing, apron, mens hat,  smoking pipe, fire lighter, ember bowl, fireplace chain, bellows, short gown, shawl, cape, ladies cloth cap, brass frying pan, bird cage, door, window, curtain, ceiling hook, food, pancake

This Post Has 13 Comments
    1. Thanks so much Jon. This painting has been making me chuckle all week! The exasperated look on this woman’s face as she tries to keep up with the demand for pancakes, and the ‘kids’ impatiently waiting…some things are timeless 🙂

  1. I’m wondering about the function of the hook in the ceiling. For a lantern at night perhaps?
    Thanks, Jon for the recent posts. These are wonderful sources for us as we work on our personas; a studied look into the past as our ancestors actually saw it. Thanks so much!
    Morgan Gardner

    1. The hook is large and would most likely be a hook for meat, such as ham. It is a focal point of the painting so I believe it is meant to show that the pancake woman is out of meat and only has apple or onion pancakes to sell the woman. The boy seems to be looking in to see what his mother is ordering. Perhaps a treat for Christmas?

    2. The box on the wall is most likely a salt box. They were commonly mounted in kitchens. I imagine the salt was used for extinguishing grease fires as well as for seasoning. Salt was inexpensive and easy to replace so it would not have been in a locked cabinet with the other spices.

  2. As for the hook, I believe that it is on rollers and if you stare hard enough there is a beam that it runs on. don’t know why, but it is neat.

  3. Did anyone else notice several compositional similarities between this piece and “The Pancake” by Cornelius Visscher? Also had no idea that so many old paintings feature pancakes! And now I want pancakes.

  4. Notice the way the fireplace was constructed. This is a traditional Dutch “jambless” fireplace. I.E. it is not set into the wall, nor does it have any side walls, or jambs. The fire is much more “in the room” than in an English fireplace. The hood above (incorporating the mantel) with it’s short canopy is there to catch the smoke and lead it up the chimney. This type of fire place can still be seen in some of the very old Dutch houses in what used to be New Nethrland, now New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. The Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction, NY has a fireplace like this, and dates to the early years of the 18th century.

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