Cadell was not a wealthy man and was dependant on the sale of his paintings for a living. This undoubtedly had a bearing on his choice of subject matter. As well as the views of Iona which he completed on his summer trips to the island, he produced domestic still lifes and fashionable portraits of Edinburgh hostesses in their New Town houses.
Painted circa 1912, the present, rare nude, is executed with the fluid, loose brushstrokes and in the gentle palette which is so characteristic of his output at this time.
He enjoyed playing with reflections and his work often features mirrors and explores the juxtapositions they provide. A figure seated by a mirror is one of his favourite pictorial motifs. In Reflections, 1915, (private collection) Cadell posed a model informally with her elbow resting on a fireplace, looking at herself in the mirror, we only see her face fully in the reflection. In The Feathered Hat, circa 1915 (The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation) the model is seated with her back to the mirror and Cadell explores the symmetry that this gives the pose. In the present work the model is nude, seated on a white sofa, gazing at her reflection in a large rectangular mirror, close to a chair on which her clothes lie discarded. The two images, of the model and her reflection create two entirely different views. The right hand side of the picture, the 'real' view, is spare and empty with just the white sofa against a white wall, whilst the reflected view of the studio is a jumble of colours and activity, the model seemingly occupying both. A very similar view, but with the model standing in front of the mirror, The Model, circa 1912, is in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.