Before the availability of commercial color materials in 1907, hand-coloring of black and white photographs was an extremely popular practice. The blue of the sky, the pink and green of the flowers, the sitter's dress, and the tablecloth have been delicately tinted to create the illusion of natural color. Although cheaper than a painted portrait, photographs were expensive for the average customer in the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, from the early years of photography, there was a tremendous market for photographic likenesses. This portrait was commissioned by a client, R. Holdsworth; a copy of the original sales receipt still exists. Although the props used in such traditional portraits were often symbolic of the sitter's identity, the blossoms that Mrs. Holdsworth holds in each hand are used here as a pictorial element and as an attribute of femininity.