The sitter in this portrait is believed to be Dr Elsie Bain, a lifelong friend who Redpath met while studying in Edinburgh. It shows early evidence of Redpath’s interest in combining both two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms, a feature that was typical of her later work. After travelling to Italy on a scholarship in 1919, the influence of early Italian painting became apparent. The sitter is represented in profile against an elaborate background with a decorative frieze along the bottom, reminiscent of early Renaissance frescoes. The flat handling of the paint and limited palette are dramatically different to the vibrant colours and more expressive brushwork for which she is best known.