Although ten years younger than Lami, Afred de Musset (1810-1857) was one of the artist's closest friend. Lami began to illustrate some of Musset's works the year after the poet's death, and in the Salon of 1859 he exhibited more than twenty watercolours on Les Caprices de Marianne, On ne badine pas avec l'Amour, Lorezaccio, La mouche. In 1861 Lami completed the series with drawings based on Musset's plays, one of which, called Les trois marches roses, was sold at Christie's, New York, 11 January 1994, lot 367, illustrated.
Lami did several portraits of his friend Musset, but none of the other watercolours represent the poet as intimately. Here, Musset is depicted with his friend, the celebrated actress Elisabeth-Rachel Félix, called Rachel (1821-1858). Rachel began her career as a singer but soon became an actress. Her first roles were in plays by Racine and Corneille but by the end of her career she participated in plays by contemporary playwrites like Victor Hugo. She performed the roles of Adrienne Lecouvreur, Marie Stuart, and Angelo, ou Le tyran de Padoue, among others. She ended her career prematurely in 1855 and left for America. She died in Cairo a year after Musset.