Edwin Edwards was a landscape painter and etcher, and a wealthy collector of art. He and his wife were personal friends of the French painter Fantin-Latour, and helped to promote his work in Britain, especially his paintings of flowers. Fantin was also an associate of Whistler and the Impressionists, and portrayed them in the group portraits now in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
Fantin's initial idea for this double portrait was to show Mrs Edwards as her husband's inspiration. The painting was exhibited both in the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy.