The sitter crosses her arms in an enigmatic fashion, and holds a rose casually between her fingers; the flower may symbolize the pleasures and pains of love. The delicate silvery tones and the billowing drapery are typical of the elegant portraits Anthony van Dyck made in London between 1635 and 1639. Fashion and art found remarkable rapport in van Dyck’s portraits of English women: strings of pearls, colorful silks, and casually worn diaphanous gauzes were favored by both the painter and his aristocratic sitters.
Van Dyck worked extensively for Charles I and his court, but also painted a wide variety of sitters. An old copy of the portrait suggests that she may be a member of the Killegrew family; van Dyck painted several other members of the family.
Source: Alan Chong, "Portrait of a Woman with a Rose," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 140.