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  • Location: Delft

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Why a Booktrail?

1664 – 1676: Griet becomes a maid for the painter Vermeer. But he sees something else in her..

  • ISBN: 978-0007232161
  • Genre: Historical

What you need to know before your trail

Those eyes are fixed on someone. But who? What is she thinking as she stares out from one of the world’s best-loved paintings?

Johannes Vermeer can spot exceptional beauty. When servant girl Griet catches his eye, she soon becomes both student and muse. But then he gives her his wife’s pearl earrings to wear for a portrait, and a scandal erupts that could threaten Griet’s future.

Vivid, captivating and much emulated, this is a timeless modern classic and an international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold around the world; now with a new introduction by the author.

Travel Guide

Travel BookTrail style to Delft via Girl with the Pearl Earring

This is one of the most evocative and atmospheric novels you can read. Streets are named, journeys to the market revealed and the sights and sounds along the way beautifully rendered in words.

Delft was a town full of noise and chatter when Greit lived there. She would go to market and describe the children running along the canal banks, describe the odor of the water and the shouts of the fishermen. The Market place and Meat Hall (just beside the Town Hall) are places of colour, noise, texture and smells. Even before she becomes Vermeer’s assistant, she is seeing the world around her like a painter herself.

The Meat Hall

“Inside were 32 stalls – there had been thirty-two butchers in Delft for geenrations. It was busy with houtseives and maids choosing, bartering and buying for their families, and men carrying carcasses back and forth. Sawdust on the floor soaked up blood and clung to shoes and hems of dresses. There was a tang of blog in the air that always made me shiver.”

Exploring Delft

Delft is described as a small yet very busy town. The children explore it by standing on the star in the middle of Market Square, picking a point and then challenging each other to go and find a certain item in that direction. Sounds like a good way to explore Delft as they do!

There’s Papist’s Corner which is the area west of the Town Hall where Vermeer lives, the Market Square, Town Hall, Meat Hall and Oude Langendijk. Vermeer lives on this street where it intersects with Molenpoort.  Vlamingstraat is the street which is immortalised in the painting “The Little Street”

Vermeer

Not surprisingly there are lots of museums, shops and attractions named after or dedicated to the master painter in some way. The Vermeer Centre should be your starting point.

The process Vermeer and other painters like him went through is fascinating to read about. How they set up a painting, the easel and paints used, how a subject was set to catch the light, how a maid cleaning windows could ruin a picture….and how the paints were mixed using bones, petals and items which gave colour to the paint is fascinating to read about here.

Streetview Maps

A) Netherlands - Delft - Market Square
B) Netherlands - Delft - Vermeer House

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Girl with a Pearl Earring

Destination: Delft Author/guide: Tracy Chevalier  Departure Time: 1664 – 1676

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