The inscription “Brillon” could refer to either the patron or the sitter. The financier Jacques Brillon de Jouy may have commissioned the portrait of his wife, Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy (1744–1824). A celebrated harpsichordist and composer, she appears in the portrait turning from her instrument in the background and fingering the pages of a musical score on a table.
Anne-Louise captivated Benjamin Franklin, who traveled to Paris in 1776 to gain support for his country’s independence from Britain. He briefly lived in her home and the two engaged in a lengthy, flirtatious correspondence. Madame Brillon likely introduced Franklin to Fragonard, who drew his portrait.