The sitter was the second of the three wives of the miniature painter Etienne-Charles Le Guay, who was also her teacher. They married in 1794 but after a turbulent marriage the couple divorced in 1801. She went on to have a relationship with a young architect, Jean-Bonaventure Comairas with whom she had a son, Philippe, in 1803 who followed in his mother's footsteps and became a painter. In 1836 she married Isidore Pinet.
Extremely successful as a miniaturist on both ivory and porcelain, she was favoured by both King Louis XVIII and King Charles X who appointed her Peintre du cabinet and subsequently Premier peintre sur porcelaine, du Roi et de la Manufacture de Sèvres. In 1830, she fell from grace; even her privilege to help herself in the Louvre and borrow original paintings, often for years, in order to copy them in her studio, was withdrawn.
The present miniature derives from a signed porcelain plaque by the sitter's husband, Etienne-Charles Le Guay (see A. Lajoix, Marie-Victoire Jaquotot 1772-1855. Peintre sur porcelaine, Paris, 1992, illustrated p. 22). An oval version, also by Otthenin, signed and dated 1817, was in the D. David-Weill Collection, Paris, inv. no. 377 and was sold from the Collection of Sir Charles Clore, Sotheby's, London, 10 November 1986, lot 43.