Mary Beale (1633 – 1699) arguably became one of the most important portrait painters of 17th century England, and has been described as the first professional female English painter. Hers was a popular style which could be at once both striking and intimate. She did many reduced versions of works by Sir Peter Lely a friend and mentor. Given their size these were convenient pictures to be had by family relations of the sitter or for smaller rooms in large family houses. The present painting owes a great deal to her approach to these scaled down versions and the pose is one that derives directly from a Lely composition.