This three-quarter length portrait of a lady is close in style to late works by the Neapolitan painter Francesco Solimena, and can be dated to about 1740.
A lady stands outside, a cloudy sky visible behind her, leaning on a table and holding what appears to be a closed fan in her left hand. The sitter’s elegant costume alludes to her wealth and status, as does the presence of an ornate silver ewer (which is Neapolitan and 18th century in style).
Despite the painting being considered (and later published) as by Francesco Solimena in the 1950s, the portrait entered the National Gallery’s collection as the work of an anonymous Neapolitan painter. Recent conservation and cleaning has revealed the painting’s high quality and it can now be confidently reassigned to Solimena.