This lady is dressed in the fashion of the day, with her tall hat, constricted waist, the skirt protruding at the back – the 'queue de Paris' – and her hands inside a fur muff. Because the outlines of her figure are drawn somewhat exaggerated, Seurat appears to mock her slightly.
Before his breakthrough as a painter, Seurat produces about 200 drawings in total. Nearly all of these are in black Conté crayon on white paper with a grainy texture. He uses this to create light and dark sections with gradual transitions and no contour lines. The white background plays an important role in creating depth and gradations of light and dark.
Lady with a muff is a good example of Seurat’s drawing style. Through a refined play of light and shadow, the figure stands out sharply against the background. Seurat aims to capture the essence of a subject; details in faces, clothing and objects that are of no consequence are omitted. In the face of the lady, he has included only a subtle suggestion of eyes; for the rest her features are indistinguishable.