This work is dated 1661, which was probably the year in which Rembrandt painted the portraits of Margaretha de Geer and of her husband Jacob Trip. It is not clear whether Rembrandt made this smaller version later or during the same sittings for the large pictures. Margaretha de Geer is wearing the same old-fashioned clothes with the mill-stone ruff and the peaked headdress, and is shown in a related pose. This work could have been intended for another family member, or for the sitter herself.
The picture is of high quality and has always been catalogued as a Rembrandt, although there are some unusual technical features about it. The ground with which the canvas is prepared is different from the kind Rembrandt normally used. While unusual for Rembrandt, this method of preparation is not unknown for a 17th-century painting. The handling of the paint also differs from that of the larger portrait by being more fluid and rapid. This suggests that the present painting is either an authentic work which is different because of the circumstances of its creation, or it is a skilful 17th-century imitation of Rembrandt's work by another painter.