A painter of subject pictures and portraits, Von Angeli was born in Hungary, studied in Vienna, and worked in Dsseldorf and Munich before finally establishing himself in Vienna in 1862. He was extensively employed by the German, Austrian, Russian and English courts.
Von Angeli was brought to Queen Victoria's attention by her eldest daughter, the Princess Royal, who greatly admired his work. After several delays, he arrived in England in March 1875 and was given a number of commissions. They included a group portrait of the Prince of Wales and his fmaily, and likenesses of the Queen herself and her daughter Princess Beatrice to complete a series of family portraits by Winterhalter that had been left unfinished on the artist's death in 1873. He went on to paint many other portraits for the Queen, who gave him the use of a studio in Buckingham Palace and gained much amusement from his company. He worked in London throughout the later 1870s, in 1885, and in the 1890s. His last visit was in 1899, two years before the Queen's death.
The present picture is not a version of any of the portraits of the Queen by Von Angeli now in the Royal Collection, and is earlier than any of them except the three-quarter-length, showing the sitter standing to the front, which was executed in 1875 and was the artist's first attempt to paint his royal patron (Buckingham Palace; see Oliver Millar, The Victorian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, Cambridge, 1992, cat. no. 5 and pl. 5). The picture in the Collection which is nearest in date is the artist's Self-Portrait of 1877 (Windsor Castle; Millar, no. 4 and pl. 4).
The picture belonged to the queen's third daughter, Princess Helena (1846-1923), who married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein in 1866. It was inherited by her youngest child, Princess Marie-Louise (1872-1956), who married Aribert, son of Frederick I, Duke of Anhalt, in 1891.