Matilda Clevland was the daughter of John Clevland, M.P., of Tapeley, Devon (d.1763), and his second wife Sarah Shuckburgh. Together with her sister Selina and their cousin, the young Swiss nobleman Louis-François, Baron Guiguer de Pragens (whom Matilda subsequently married) and the latter's aunt, they were travelling in Italy in 1777. Between 16 April and 3 May they were in Florence where they sought out Zoffany, who they already knew, and from whom Selina Clevland commissioned this portrait of her sister. Baron de Pragens's journal records sittings on 16, 17, 18, 22, 23 and 28 April and 3 May, and on 17 April he wrote: 'Le portrait sera charmant, et cette forme est mille fois plus agreable que le miniature sur une boit, ou la tete seule de grandeur naturelle. La figure sera entiere, environ 16 pouces d'hauteur, assise sous des arbres, et une vue de Toscane dans l'eloignement'. (It was from this description, which he quoted for the first time, that Oliver Millar, op. cit, was able to identify the sitter). Selina later married the fifty-year-old diplomat and picture dealer John Udny (1727-1800), then British consul at Leghorn, who was himself to form an exceptional collection of Italian pictures.