In 17th century Rotterdam, newly orphaned Saskia is employed as a lady's maid to Vrouw Gibbons. Capable and hard-working, it soon becomes apparent that her talent for the manufacture of beauty products - a legacy from her mother - far exceeds her lowly status. She catches the eye of Grinling Gibbons, her employers' only son, and of his English friend, Robert Harding. When the Gibbons family decides to return to England, Saskia goes with them, and in time the opportunity arises for her to set up in business. Robert supports and advises her in this enterprise, hopeful of winning her love. But Saskia has given her heart to Grinling, a man whose interests lie elsewhere . . .