This work is dated 1871 and was probably painted by Tissot in Paris, before he moved to London in June of that year. It shows a woman seated on a boat on the river with an extravagant hat, a daisy projecting from the corner of her mouth and a yellow shawl around her waist and over her knees. The shawl, decorated with red and green patterns, was owned by the artist and also features in his work 'Waiting' (alternatively known as 'In the Shallows'), which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1874.
James Tissot was from Nantes, where his parents were in the textile business. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and was a pupil of Lamothe and Ingres. His early work is often set in the Middle Ages but by c.1865 he was painting modern life. He was in the National Guard during the Siege of Paris and was probably involved in the Commune in 1871, the year he moved to London. He made drawings for Thomas Gibson Bowles, owner of ‘Vanity Fair’ and, in the late 1870s, had exhibitions throughout the UK. After his mistress’s death in 1882 he returned to France and experienced a religious conversion, which led him to paint biblical scenes and visit the Middle East. He is primarily remembered for depictions of Parisian and London society.
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