Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun was one of the finest painters of her day. An immensely successful portraitist, she represented her subjects in natural, relaxed and intimate poses. Aristocrats, artists and authors alike sat for her, though she is best-known for her portraits of Marie Antoinette. With the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, she was maligned by the press and had to flee France. Her career re-flourished in Italy where she painted portraits of English tourists, including Frederick Augustus Hervey. It was Hervey, who built Ickworth in Suffolk, who commissioned this self-portrait.