Lady's maid

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Mistress and Maid by Johannes Vermeer

A lady's maid is a female personal attendant who waits on the lady of the house, and is a position very similar to a gentleman's valet.


Traditionally, the lady's maid was not as high-ranking as a lady's companion, who was a retainer rather than a servant, but the rewards included room and board, travel and somewhat improved social status. In the servants' hall, a lady's maid took precedence akin to that of her mistress. In Britain, a lady's maid would be addressed by her surname by her employer, while she was addressed "Miss" by junior servants or when visiting in another servants' hall.

A lady's maid's specific duties included helping her mistress with her appearance, including make-up, hairdressing, clothing, jewellery, and shoes. A lady's maid would also remove stains from clothing; sew, mend, and alter garments as needed; bring her mistress breakfast in her room; and draw her mistress's bath. However, she would not be expected to dust or sweep, duties which would instead be performed by a housemaid.

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