Watts made many drawings of this type during his years in Florence (1843-7) when he was living as the permanent guest of Lord Holland, the British Minister to the Court of Tuscany, and his wife, Augusta.

With her arch expression and low-cut neckline, the sitter gives the impression of being something of a 'femme fatale'. Watts' relations with Lady Holland were very close, and he made a number of intimate drawings of her relaxing, reading, sewing, or lying on her bed. The present drawings is one of the most lively, and was probably kept by the sitter, who had it cased in a small wooden frame with silver mounts engraved with her initials.


Peter Nahum; private collection; Maas Gallery.

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