Codrington's early years were dominated by the international adulation accorded to James McNeill Whistler. In his declining years in the late 1890s, this controversial figure returned frequently to Britain to lead the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, a new exhibiting society established to break the hold of the Royal Academy. Whistler's work was collected for a large posthumous retrospective at the New Gallery in 1905 and his most famous works - such as Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist's Mother, 1872 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) - were again receiving critical acclaim. It is clear that the present work - showing a young woman seated parallel to the picture plane - is to some extent in dialogue with Whistlerian aesthetics. At the same time, aspects of eighteenth-century dress design were revived and three-quarter sleeves, as in the present work, became fashionable. So too did lace-trimmed fichus, large 'kerchiefs' worn around the shoulders and pinned to the front of the bodice. Although restrained in its palette, there is a hint of radicalism in the discarded yellow-backed French novel lying on the floor. Codrington's reader may be demure, but her tastes in literature are daring.