Lady Writing a Letter (1887). Albert Edelfelt (Finnish, 1854-1905). Oil on panel. Nationalmuseum.
This small painting by Edelfelt is a reminder of the central importance of hand-written letters and the writing desk in the bourgeois household. The glass inkwell on the table is open and the woman seems to be replying to a newly-opened letter, careful not to keep the sender waiting. A technically exquisite detail is the envelope in her hand, or, more specifically, how it appears translucent in the light.