Emma Brandling (c. 1826-1884), daughter of Robert William Brandling, frequented the salon that Sara Prinsep established at Little Holland House, Kensington, in the 1850s. In 1859 she married Thomas Powys, who succeeded to the title of Baron Lilford in 1861. Watts, who lived at Little Holland House as a sort of resident genius and painted many of the distinguished or glamorous people who formed Mrs Prinsep's circle, claimed that Emma was 'perhaps the most beautiful of all his sitters'. The present drawing probably dates to 1859-60, and was very likely a bridal gift. A portrait in oils of Emma was sold in these Rooms, 12 December 2013, lot 52; another is in the Watts Gallery, Compton.
We are grateful to Veronica Franklin-Gould for her help in preparing this catalogue entry.