The image of the Italian peasant or contadina became a popular subject in art from the 1830s onwards. Seated in an indeterminate locale under the bright Italian sun, the wholesome, rosy-cheeked maiden in this painting engages us directly with the tenderness of her expression. Her colourful folk costume and jewellery have been carefully described, along with the basket of fruit at her feet. The watercolour, one of numerous depicting peasants of the Roman Campagna, was painted during the artist Jan Philip Koelman’s residence in Rome between 1844 and 1857. The latter part of Koelman’s career was spent as a designer and sculptor of numerous official commissions in the Netherlands, and he served as director of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague from 1870 to 1888.