Francis Coates-Jones was born in Baltimore in 1857 and is a prestigious figure painter specialising in genre interior scenes. Very much like the present example, his works centre on richly decorated and intimate scenes that emphasise the psychological relationship between the characters depicted. In this case, the work shows a young woman and her daughter mourning the loss of her husband in the American Civil war, who is represented in the picture they are looking at and also alluded to by the presence of the sword.
During 1879 and 1880 Coates-Jones studied under William Alolphe Bouguereau and Jules Joseph Lefebvre, and attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Other works by Coates-Jones can be found in the following public collections:
Art Institute of Chicago
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Mass.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City