Thomas Francis Dicksee was a portraitist and painter of historical, genre subjects. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1841 until the year of his death. His brother John Robert Dicksee was also a painter, and his children, Sir Francis Dicksee and Margaret likewise became painters.
Thomas Dicksee produced a series of portraits of family members, and also painted idealised portraits, including the Shakespearean characters Ophelia, Beatrice, Miranda and Ariel. He exhibited seven portraits of Shakespearean heroines at the Royal Academy.
This painting shows Jessica, a character in Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, the daughter of a Jewish moneylender Shylock, who defies her father’s wishes and falls in love with a Christian, Lorenzo.