In 1751, in a letter to his friend Jean Mariette in Paris, Count Francesco Algarotti wrote: "I bought a pastel painting that is approximately three feet high from the famous Liotard. It represents a young, German waiting maid in profile, who carries a tray with a glass of water and a cup of chocolate. The painting's style is almost without shadows, before a light ground, receiving its light from two windows reflected in the glass. It is worked in halftones, with imperceptible gradations of light, and of perfect relief (...) and although it is a European work of art, it mimics the taste of the Chinese, who, as you know, are the sworn enemies of shadow. Regarding the perfection of the work, it is Holbein in pastels."