Corot’s mother Marie Françoise was born in Switzerland. Along with her husband Louis-Jacques Corot, she ran a milliner's shop in the Rue du Bac in Paris, where Corot and his sister were brought up. The business was extremely successful and afforded the young Corot considerable financial independence when he decided to pursue a career as a painter. Corot was devoted to his mother, referring to her as ‘la belle dame’ (the beautiful lady). He later spent all his evenings with her when he was in Paris until her death in 1851 (aged 82). Judging from her clothing and hairstyle in this picture, it was probably painted around 1835-40, when she would have been in her late-sixties.