In the 1870s a new type of genre subject emerged, illustrating scenes of modern life, and fashionable society in particular, with the narrative content kept to a minimum. These were popularised largely through the work of James Tissot, a French artist who settled in London. This painting appears to be a straightforward portrait of a fashionably dressed lady but may not be what it at first seems. It has been previously called The Visit and An Afternoon Call and might be interpreted as a subtle image of social transgression: a young woman making a visit alone, perhaps to a gentleman's house.
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