The sitter in this portrait is a member of an extensive German family, the coat of arms in the painting relating to the aristocratic Mach von Gross-Lubtow of Pomerania. Branches of the family can be found to be related to Prussian royalty, including Friedrich Wilhelm Constantin, Sovereign Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. The area of Pomerania is currently divided between tracts of land belonging to both Germany and Poland on the Baltic Sea.
The lady in this portrait is depicted wearing the fashionable attire for the 1780’s which openly copied gentleman’s styles. The caped collar of the masculine greatcoat is imitated in this tight-waisted redingote, which was often worn over a waistcoat. Very often made in silk or in colder climes heavier material, it bore a close resemblance to riding dress with echoes of military attire particularly with the braiding. As the decade progressed women were also adopting the use of canes and boots. Emphasising no doubt this particular lady’s pursuits she is depicted with needlework pouch open on the table with braid and thread spilling forth, whilst she reads.
The artist Carl Caspar Pitz was born in Saarbruck in Germany in September 1756. He is recorded as studying in Paris and residing in Prague by 1793, dying there two years later, aged only thirty-nine. His portraits that are known tend to be compositionally quite similar, being precise and detailed in execution, this almost certainly being an example of one such work. Paintings are listed in some provincial German museums but his body of work appears to be small and details of his life obscure.