The Milk Maid
Walking into a gift shop here in The Netherlands is always a delight. And if you’re lucky, you will see pretty Delft blue Milk Maids all lined up, holding their milk pails high and proud. A milk maid is a woman who is employed to milk the cows in a dairy. Before the invention of milk machines, cows were milked by hand.
They would milk the cows, clean the udders, clean the buckets and strain the milk. In some homes milk maids would be employed instead of having other help do the work. The milk maid was also usually responsible for making other dairy products such as cream, butter and cheese.
One of my favorite paintings hangs proudly at the beautiful Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Johannes Vermeer’s painting “The Milkmaid” captures a beautiful moment of a kitchen maid pouring milk into a Dutch oven. I love the blue colors that are shown in her apron and cloth on the table, the expression of her face, the light pouring into the room and the little Delft tiles along the wall behind her.