The sitter is draped in a fashionable silk shawl and her hair is curled in the poetic Grecian manner popularised by the connoisseur Thomas Hope, whose Costume of the Ancients was issued in 1809 and Designs of Modern Costume in 1812. The double-action harp to the sitter's right, was designed by Sebastian Erard and patented in 1810. On the table, the elegant bust would appear to be in the style of the popular sculptor, Antonio Canova. The Greek urn would appear to be based on the famous Meidias Hydria, the centre-piece of the collection of the famous diplomat and connoisseur, Sir William Hamilton and one of the great icons of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century taste, which was purchased together with a large part of Sir William Hamilton's collection by the British Museum in 1772.
The vase also appears in a prominent position in Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait of Sir William Hamilton, painted in 1776-1777 (National Portrait Gallery), presented to the British Museum in 1782. It is possible that Archer Shee would have seen both the portrait and the Meidias Hydria in the British Museum and was therefore consciously echoing the cultural and scholarly associations of Reynolds' portrait in placing the vase in such a prominent position in this portrait of an artistocratic sitter.
The frame is carved in the antique manner of the 1780s with a flowered ribbon-guilloche and pearl-strung and palm-wrapped borders.