Flora Bellasis (1823-1871) was the daughter of Daniel Hutchins Bellasis (1785-1836), Colonel of Infantry in the Bombay Army, and Mary (1786-1862), daughter of Lance Tadman of New House, Gravesend, Kent, and widow of William Jolliffe Eldridge, Major of the Bombay European Regiment who died at Poona on 7 October 1818. Flora's grandfather, John Bellasis (1743-1808), was Major-General and Commander-in-Chief of the East India Company, and had also been based in Bombay, first establishing the family's importance within Colonial India.
The Parsi community in and around Bombay was particularly prosperous at the time, working closely in connection with government and public works organised by the East India Company, and Flora Bellasis is likely to have chosen Parsi costume for the present portrait as a reference to her family's connections to India. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1844 when she was just 21. In 1852 she married Admiral Richard Aldworth Oliver (1811-1889) at St. Marylebone church, Middlesex.
The portrait was one of the eight works exhibited by the artist at the Royal Academy in 1844, the year of his death. Notably, one of the others was of John Skinner, 'A study for a large picture painted for the Chamber of Commerce, Bombay' (no.402). The contents of Geddes' studio were auctioned at Christie's on 8-12 April 1845.