The attractive sitter is Catrina Pels (Amsterdam 1665-1704), daughter of wealthy entrepreneur and merchant Jean Lucas Pels and his wife Suzanne Noirot. The four corners of the portrait bear the coats of arms of the family: in the upper left are the arms of Noiret, accompanied by those of Vegelmans (the paternal branch of the sitter's grandmother) in the lower left and De Wilhems (maternal branch of the grandmother) in the lower right. The canvas is unlined and the coat of arms of the Pels family is visible on the reverse (illustrated).
This portrait undoubtedly commemorates the marriage of Catrina Pels and Johannes Bouwens (1663-1720) on 28 February 1685. The portrait of Catrina's husband (whereabouts unknown) was also painted by Maes and bears the same arrangement of coats-of-arms in the corners (see L. Krempel, Studien zu den datierten Gemälde des Nicholaes Maes (1634-1693), Petersberg, 2000, no. 233, pl. 314). Although Krempel attributes the lost portrait of Catrina's father to Johann Bodecker (Krempel, op. cit., no. 233a, pl. 382), there is no compelling reason to doubt Maes's authorship. The three paintings must have formed part of a series, as the sizes and placement of arms are almost identical. William Robinson has confirmed the attribution to Nicolaes Maes on the basis of photographs (private communication, 20 November 2003).