The subject of a woman seated in a railway carriage is one to which Gwen John returned from about 1910 to the end of her career. She was particularly interested in capturing the female figure in side profile, as can be seen in the present lot. Woman and Child in a Railway Carriage, 1910s (private collection) also demonstrates this, and both works capture a fleeting, everyday scene.
Similar figures in side profile can be found in Gwen John's pictures of figures in church. These figures are usually female, and it is clear that the was interested in observing the quiet and private moments of women's lives.