This portrait is very likely to once have formed part of a diptych, facing a Virgin and Child or a Crucifixion, when it would have been used for private devotion. The other wing could alternatively have contained a portrait of the sitter's husband. The pose and dress of the sitter is rather close to that in Holbein's Portrait of a Woman in a white coif in the Detroit Institute of Art, which is also of similar dimensions. In the collection catalogue of Viscount Rothermere (op. cit.) the sitter is identified as a younger member of the family of an official at the court of Henry VIII who, with his wife, features in two small circular portraits by Holbein, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (J. Rowlands, The paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger, Oxford, 1985, nos. 87 and 88). At the time that the Rothermere catalogue was written, the face and part of the background in this painting had been largely over painted. This over paint has subsequently been removed.