This painting is an arresting example of the finished small scale studies that Leighton made of the peasantry he encountered during frequent expeditions to the Mediterranean. Traditionally the portrait is thought to be of a girl from Capri, which Leighton first visited in the early summer of 1859. Largely undiscovered by tourists owing to its inaccessibility, the island was nevertheless a mecca for artists. Sargent visited in 1878, and all were struck by the extraordinary quality of the light, recorded by Leighton in a series of landscape sketches characterised by their remarkable directness of observation, and technical freedom. The same qualities can be seen in his portrait studies executed on this and subsequent visits to the island, and the southern Italian coasts. While many of these were exhibited, for example at the Dudley Gallery in 1874, and at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877, most were kept for the artist's own enjoyment. Several can still be seen at Leighton House, but others, amongst those that were sold, are now in the Royal Collection and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.