Some fifteen years after his first tour of North Africa, Bridgman compiled his reminiscences in Winters in Algeria (1890), a publication he both authored and illustrated. In these memoirs, the American-born artist wrote in great detail of his experiences inside the harems to which he had been granted access. Taking advantage of his entry privileges, Bridgman painted the oriental beauties to which he was privy and, as a result, his odalisques appear much more authentic than the more contrived manufactures often executed by his peers.
The present painting exemplifies the kind of scene to which Bridgman was exposed on his harem visits. The women are adorned in opulent accoutrements and swathed in the finest of fabrics, emblemizing the sense of luxury and richness that was then associated with the East. In his memoirs, Bridgman described with great precision the apparel such women wore. Noting that "the height of fashion [was] to wear everything of the same colour; for instance, yellow head kerchief bordered with gold and silk fringe, yellow ribbons to ornament the thin chemise, yellow silk bodice, pantaloons of the same colour, and yellow leather slippers".(F. A. Bridgman, Winters in Algeria, New York, 1890, p. 30).