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Philip Joseph Tassaert, Portret van Maria-Theresa Borrekens, MPM.V.IV.086, Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Museum Plantin-Moretus

Maria-Theresia Borrekens

Maria-Theresia Borrekens (1728-1797) was married to Franciscus Joannes Moretus, son of Joannes Jacobus and Theresia Mechtildis Schilders. The daughter of a knight, Engelbert Borrekens, she herself came from a rich and noble family.

After the death of her husband at a relatively young age, Maria-Theresia developed into a spirited business leader with an obstinate character. Despite the oath she had sworn to leave the Officina to her children ‘met luyster’ (‘in glorious condition’), due to external circumstances she failed to reverse the downturn in the printing business that had already started.

The portrait by Philippe Joseph Tassaert shows something of this eccentric personality: Maria-Theresia is dressed in 17th-century – and hence completely antiquated – costume, with an exotic shawl draped around her shoulders and chest. Such is her aristocratic self-possession that there is no longer any need for that extreme fashion-consciousness that was still very much in evidence in her parents-in-law.

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