This cameo is after William Henry Rinehart's "Woman of Samaria," a major life-size sculpture in marble commissioned by William T. Walters and completed in 1861. The Walters Art Museum owns two other cameos after Rinehart's work (see Walters 57.2001 and Walters 57.854). One of these, a profile portrait of Ellen Walters, William's wife, was a commission from the Roman workshop of Augusto Castellani (1829-1914). It is therefore possible that this cameo was commissioned from the same workshop at around the same time.
Cameos done after sculptures were known in ancient times, and the practice continued in the 19th century. Castellani also executed a bust-length cameo of Hiram Powers famous statue the "Greek Slave," exhibited in the Great Exhibition of 1851.