Lawrence MacDonald was born in Gask in Perthshire and was apprenticed to a local mason called Thomas Gibson. In 1822 he went to Edinburgh, where he entered the Trustee's Academy, and continued from there to Rome to become one of the founding members of the British Academy of Arts in the city. MacDonald was one of the most popular portrait sculptors of his day, working almost continuously in Rome from 1831 to his death, creating images of the rich and fashionable. Another pair of the present busts of Flora and Psyche were given by Queen Victoria to her husband Prince Albert in 1849, and still reside in the Royal Collection today (inv. nos. 41028 and 41027).