In March 1810, Le Beau Monde and Monthly Register described the trends in French evening fashion: “Among the fashionable dresses which are selected by persons who are distinguished in the highest circles for their superior taste, the most prevailing is the Persian Robe, made of pink satin, ornamented with black lace and drops of pearls.” The young woman in this idiosyncratic portrait wears a dress in a beautiful rose color that is embellished not with black lace but with brooding blackbirds embroidered in the points of the Vandyke collar. The triangular points of the collar are repeated on the sleeves, which seem to be adorned with pearly buttons, as described in Le Beau Monde, and a deep cuff of hand-netted lace. At one time, the painting also included a fichu tucked into the neckline.
The portrait is distinguished by the eccentric bangs separated into long strands that hang across the young woman’s face. Although the hairstyle and blackbirds may be somewhat disturbing to modern eyes, the dress is probably a rural adaptation of Parisian fashion, and a modified version of the hairstyle is documented in portraits of the 1800–1805 period. The portrait itself shows little modeling in the treatment of the face and body and is leanly painted over a gray undercoat. At least two additional portraits can be attributed to this unidentified artist.
Stacy C. Hollander, "Woman in Rose Dress," in American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2001), 378.