Gwen John, who was received into the Roman Catholic church in 1913, painted many pictures of nuns. She became involved with the nuns at the Convent at Meudon near Paris, where she lived. She was asked to paint an imaginary portrait of their foundress Mere Poussepin, which she copied, taking two years to do so, from a prayer card. John also painted portraits of several nuns from the Convent, including this one of an unknown young woman. They sat for John, but were posed in the same way as Mere Poussepin appears in the prayer card. There was an orphanage near by that was part of the Convent, and John painted many watercolours of the children there.