The studio window is set in the sitting room of the Paris apartment that Preston shared with fellow Australian artist Bessie Davidson in 1906. It is a scene of stillness and quiet reflection. The young woman’s reading material is possibly a popular literary or artistic journal and suggests that she is engrossed in the new ideas of her time. In this regard, Preston’s image is specific, whereas other artists’ images of women reading allow the viewer to imagine the book as either a piece of traditional fiction, contemporary literature or history.
Preston’s woman is dressed in a conventional pretty pink dress of her time, whereas the figures in Rothenstein’s The Browning readers or Gwen John’s A lady readingwear more modern ‘artistic’ dress.