This picture shows an old woman holding a stick with a bunch of wool or flax from which thread is spun, called a distaff. A popular Spanish proverb is being alluded to here: 'Poco gana la vieja hilando, pero menos gana mirando' (little does the old woman gain weaving, but less so just watching). Another version of this picture in the Prado, Madrid, is generally thought to be a copy of this painting at Stourhead.
Where to see this painting?
National Trust, Stourhead
Not all paintings are on display. If you want to see a particular painting, please contact the collection