Charles Robertson was noted as a gifted artist from an early age. A jeweller’s son, born in Dublin, his earliest work was intricate hair designs which he exhibited in 1768/9. His brother Walter Robertson (d.1801) was also probably his teacher and the two lived together for some time. He worked in London 1785-1792, exhibiting at the RA from 1790-1810. As secretary of the Hibernian Society of Artists (and Vice President from 1814), Robertson fought for a charter of incorporation, but did not live to see establishment of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1823. He died in his native Dublin at his Holles Street house aged 62. The present work is typical of his style, particularly the blue shading around the sitter’s eyes.
Although it has not been possible to identify the female sitter in this portrait, it is likely to date from his London period. A portrait of Charles Robertson by fellow artist H. Kirchoffer, his work table and his portrait of his elder brother are in the collection of The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.