Flora Priestley was an English painter and friend of Vernon Lee and Mary and John Singer Sargent. She was one of Sargent's favorite models, posing for some of his most significant portraits. Described as a beautiful, free, and creative woman, Flora was also in touch with Cézanne, who during a visit to her studio gave her a small still life with a cup and bowl, this painting she later sold for attendance at a charity dinner. Priestley depicts a type of female figure particularly beloved by Sargent and which appears frequently in his portraits: flamboyant and characterized by a strong contrast between black hair and pale complexion. In Flora's portraits these characteristics are often further emphasized by dramatic makeup and the choice of clothing and background colors.
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