"Gainsborough became friendly with the Linleys after his move to Bath in 1759. This exceptionally talented family dominated musical life in the town. Elizabeth, the elder girl (in blue), was one of the foremost sopranos of the day, and Mary had a successful career as a singer and actress. Gainsborough's work on this painting was interrupted by Elizabeth's elopement in 1772 with Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the future playwright and politician.
The sisters are shown as if they have paused in their music making in a spring woodland. The relaxed elegance of their pose shows an intimate understanding of Van Dyck, whose portraits had a strong influence on Gainsborough's oeuvre."