Faith Andrews Bedford writes of the sitter of the present work, "Mary Sullivan was a great favorite in many of the studios of Boston. She became more than just a model to both the Benson and Tarbell families, acting as an occasional nanny to the Tarbell children and helping the Bensons when they entertained. Her carriage and bearing suited Benson's needs, for she was tall and slim with finely chiseled features. She was known in Benson's family simply as Mary, or 'the beautiful red-haired model.'" (Frank W. Benson: American Impressionist, New York, 1994, p. 90)
While he painted the present work circa 1902-04, Frank Weston Benson inscribed the work ''To Mary Codman - F.W. Benson - 1931.' when giving it to the sitter, Mary Codman, in 1931.