The painting was originally part of a private collection of d'Angely who was the daughter of the model in the painting. The painting was bequeathed to The Louvre in 1941, entering in officially in 1945. It was then moved to the Musée d'Orsay as part of it's opening exhibition in 1986 before then being exchanged with the painting, death of a sister of charity, being moved the to Museum of the Augustines in Toulouse, where it is currently exhibited.
The model in the painting is Marguerite de Conflans who was painted a total of five times by Manet. Manet was friends with Marguerite's family and Marguerite's father was related to the Guillemardet family, who owned artistic works by Francisco Goya which Manet was able to study during the 1860s. Marguerite was only seventeen at the time of the painting and so it was painted at Marguerite's family home as this was thought to be a more appropriate place than Manet's studio.
Manet refused to exhibit with the impressionists in 1874 but still remained friends with them and followed much of their research, particularly the use of colours which can be seen in this portrait. Another technique he used from them was the use of a mirror to show the main focus of the painting at different angles, which again can be seen in this painting of Marguerite. The painting itself depicts Marguerite sat on a chair slightly to the right on the center . She is holding a book in her hands and while she is facing the observer, she is not making eye contact, looking a bit to the right. The painting is immediately accessible, clearly depicting Marguerite sat down and the casual observer can easily get a feel for the tone and style of both the time and the room.
There is more to this painting though. The background has all been painted to be slightly distorted, most notably the mirror where the reflection's face is blurred, only the eyes and hair remain clearly defined. There is a clear use of vibrant colours, with the red on the book, dressing table and lipstick all going together and standing out. The lovely different shades of blue on the bath robe Marguerite have been built up by lots of clearly defined brush strokes which have allowed both a layered texture and beautiful shades of blue to be observed.