Gerard ter Borch the Younger was born into a prominent family in Zwolle in late December 1617. His father, Gerard ter Borch the Elder, gave him instruction in drawing around 1625/26. In 1632 he is documented in Amsterdam. From 1633 to 1635 he studied under the landscape painter Pieter de Molijn (1595-1661) in Haarlem. In 1635 he was admitted to that city's painters' guild. His earliest known painting, 'The Consultation' (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie), dates from that year. In the summer of 1635 he stayed in London with his uncle, the engraver Robert van Voerst; he then returned to Zwolle in 1636 before travelling to Italy, Spain, France and the southern Netherlands. In an inventory of the painter Claude Vignon from 1643, one of Ter Borch's works is appraised at fifty livres - a considerable sum that attests to his early reputation outside Holland. In 1644 he painted in Amsterdam or Haarlem the 'Portrait of the Preacher Hendrick van der Schalcke' (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). He was present at the peace negotiations between the Netherlands and Spain in Münster from 1645 to 1648, and was in the service of the Spanish count Peiieranda beginning in 1647. Back in Holland, he presumably lived in Amsterdam (November 1648), frequently visiting his family in Zwolle. In 1649 he visited The Hague, in December 1650 he probably travelled to Kampen, and in 1653 he went to Delft, where he signed a document with Vermeer. He married his step-aunt Geertruyt Matthys in 1654 in Deventer and settled permanently in that city, leaving it only occasionally for portrait commissions in Amsterdam, The Hague and elsewhere. From 1666 to his death he was a city juror. He was buried in Zwolle on 8 December 1681. Ter Borch is most famous for his genteel bourgeois interiors from the 1650s, with which he exercised an influence on younger painters, including Vermeer. Less well known are his early tavern and soldiers' scenes, which resemble those of the Amsterdam painters Pieter Codde (1599-1678) and Willem Duyster (1598/99-1635). He was also a sought-after portraitist, especially in his later years, one from whom Dutch burghers and aristocrats from various countries commissioned likenesses. Numerous drawings and sketches have survived, the earliest from when he was only seven years old. In Deventer he had a rather large workshop in which Caspar Netsche (1639-1684) and others received their training.