The sitter, Josephine Butler (1828-1906), drawn here at the age of 28, became a prominent feminist. She promoted higher education for women and was closely involved with the welfare of prostitutes, whom, despite her strong disapproval, she believed were victims of male oppression. She led the 1869 campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts, that gave magistrates the power to order examinations of suspected prostitutes that she called 'surgical rape'. Another of her expressions was that 'God and one woman make a majority'. Scott had published his poem 'Rosabell' about fallen women in 1846, which brought him some fame and attracted the notice of Rossetti, who wrote to him and established a lifelong friendship.