François Hubert Drouais (1727-1775) was born in Paris. He trained with his father, Hubert Drouais (1699-1767) and then with Donat Nonotte (1708-1785), Carle van Loo (1705-1765), Charles-Joseph Natoire (1700-1777) and François Boucher (1703-1770). He became a member of the Académie Royale in 1755 and achieved quickly a great success as a portrait painter, receiving prestigious commissions, especially from the court.
This painting is a portrait of the Dauphine Marie-Antoinette, consort of the future king of France, Louis XVI, at the age of 17. It depicts the princess in a lavish court dress adorned with sumptuous jewels. This portrait was used as a model for a tapestry made in the Royal manufactory of the Gobelins by the Cozette father and son in 1775. This portrait is a good example of French state portraits of the 18th century and the representation of an almighty royalty about to fail in a few years time.