Glasgow-born Flora Stevenson devoted her life to the improvement of children's welfare. She and her sister Louisa were also among the first to campaign for the admission of women to universities. In reference to this, a red and blue academic gown hangs on the back of her chair. This portrait was a gift to the sitter, presented to her in recognition of her charitable work. Roche shows a dignified older woman, still at her desk, working hard.