Born in Switzerland, Rouquet travelled to London in his early 20s, where he painted portraits in enamel. His friendship with his close contemporary, the artist William Hogarth (1697-1764), whom he painted in a superbly naturalistic enamel [NPG 5717], may have resulted in some of his commissions. The collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, holds a portrait of William Pitt (1708-1778), 1st Earl of Chatham [P.5-1946], painted at a similar date to the present work.
Rouquet’s sitters appear to vary from wealthy merchants to nobility and like Hogarth he rarely flattered his sitters. Genuinely attractive subjects, such as the portrait of the young lady here, are rare amongst his oeuvre, and the addition of fresh flowers by the artist is perhaps an indication that such natural beauty should be treasured while it lasts.
Rouquet moved to Paris in 1752 where, in 1755, he published his L’État des arts en Angleterre, which was immediately translated into English. After exhibiting five enamels at the Académie in 1753 he was given an apartment in the Louvre. In 1758, reports of his dangerous and manic behaviour from his fellow artists lodging at the Louvre resulted in his incarceration in the Charenton, where he died a few months later.