This portrait was painted in Seville, Spain, between January and May 1909, during a yearlong study trip that Francis Luis Mora took to Scotland, London, Paris, and several Spanish cities. The work was completed in a rented studio, with a hired model wearing picturesque peasant garb intended to evoke the image of a Spanish gypsy. Mora had wanted to paint outdoors, but unrelenting rain that spring kept the artist inside. As he wrote in his diary at one frustrated moment, "It feels today more like Scotland in October."
Francis Luis Mora was born in Uruguay to a Spanish father and French mother who had immigrated to South America. When Mora was three, his sculptor father returned the family temporarily to Barcelona, Spain, before permanently settling in New York in 1880. Mora studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Art Students League in New York with Edmund Charles Tarbell, Frank W. Benson, and William Merritt Chase. During the early 20th century, he enjoyed a long and successful career as a portraitist, popular illustrator, and painter of Spanish-inflected subjects.