When Jules Martial Regnault, called de Prémaray, sat for Nadar in 1857, the two men had known each other for about fifteen years. Before his sitting, de Prémaray wrote to Nadar for advice on the most appropriate clothing for the photograph, suggesting the importance Nadar placed on apparel in his portraits. Whether de Prémaray's velvet smock belonged to him or to Nadar is uncertain, but it seems large for the writer's frail figure and the sleeves appear to have been turned back at the wrists, creating deep satin cuffs.
On the back of his photographs, Nadar customarily wrote the professions of his sitters; he designated de Prémaray as a theatrical critic rather than as the playwright he also was. The deep circles under de Prémary's eyes may be symptoms of the severe illness that soon necessitated a three-year course of hydrotherapeutic treatments. By 1859 the critic's precarious health had forced him to give up all kinds of writing, and he died nine years later at age forty-nine.