Monet left London and his friend Whistler in 1871 and traveled to Holland, where he was much more productive, possibly because he was joined by his wife Camille and son Jean.
In the same year Monet painted this most untypical work depicting Camille reclining on a highly patterned sofa in an elegant room. Although Monet pointed Camille frequently, he rarely painted with such attention to detail. He has borrowed much from the work of Whistler, who painted a number of pictures in a similar style, showing a single figure seated within a strongly structured background. The dark, tonal treatment of the figure and the use of weighty background tones also recall the work of Monet's friend Manet, in turn, influenced by Velazquez. In stark contrast to Monet's painting is a work of the same subject by Renoir several years later. Renoir's is oil airy lightness, with the figure of Camille more Impressionist in style and wrought in pale, pastel tones.