Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse, the heroine in this painting, was the daughter of James Lees Kenworthy and his wife, Elizabeth. James was an artist, and schoolmaster and Elizabeth was a schoolmistress. Esther Kenworthy married John William Waterhouse in 1883. Throughout his life and career, John William Waterhouse painted numerous paintings featuring female characters. Most of his paintings primarily depict women from ancient Greek mythology, Arthurian legends, Roman history, and Shakespearean literature. However, for this particular painting, he chose his beautiful wife as his muse. The painting features an image of Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse's side profile. Her best facial features are displayed in the picture. Esther adorns a stylish har and a scarf. Her face appears blush and gorgeous from her nose to her lips and eyes. The portrait depicts the beauty and glory of Esther.
This portrait is believed to have been gifted to Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse as a present after its production. Critics of John William Waterhouse argue that this is the most romantic and passionate piece by the artist. From the brush strokes to the depiction of his image, the painting is meticulously created. His love and devotion to Esther was exceptional, primarily because the two consciously decided not to have any children. Therefore, they only had each other to give their love and affection. Most people believe that is the reason why he meticulously created this painting of Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse.
John William Waterhouse painted several other pieces featuring his romantic approach to the femme fatale. Some of his most famous paintings include Circe, Vanity, Undine, Gone but not Forgotten, Miranda, and After the Sun. Of all his paintings, this is the only one featuring a close relative. The painting is currently located at the Sheffield Galleries and Museums in the UK. The gallery purchased it from the John William Waterhouse estate a few years after the artist’s death. Esther sold the painting when she was experiencing financial distress following the death of her husband. Most of his other images are still owned and licensed by the John William Waterhouse estate. It is worth noting that Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse was a known flower painter. Esther is buried alongside her husband at Kensal Green Cemetary.