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Gertler's composition is a direct response to William Rothenstein's 'Reading the Book of Esther' (1907, Manchester Art Gallery), which he admired at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1910, subsequently employing the same dark-haired sitter as one of his own models. In palette, technique and setting, however, Gertler diverged from his early mentor's depiction of public religious ceremony to create a more intimate composition, employing earthy tones with rich areas of colour and delighting in including details, such as the still-life of apples. The painting was exhibited at Vanessa Bell's Friday Club at the Alpine Gallery, London, in February 1911. After his first showing there in June 1910, Bell had singled Gertler out as 'promising [...]', commenting, 'he has two rather remarkable paintings, remarkable really only considering his age, but I think he must be going to be good'.