Ambrose McEvoy entered the Slade in 1893 at the age of fifteen at the suggestion of Whistler, and there enjoyed the company of Augustus John and William Orpen. Having experimented with landscapes and interior scenes he eventually found his true métier in portraiture. After the rapturous reception given to the painting Madame at the New English Art Club in 1914, McEvoy became one of the most original and sought after society portraitists of his age. He exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy and the British Institution.
Dorothy was the only child of Joseph Duveen, perhaps the greatest art dealer of the early 20th Century. Knighted in 1919, he was created Baron Duveen of Millbank in 1933 for his philanthropic activities, which included building the Duveen Galleries at the British Museum to house the Elgin Marbles, and the creation of a new wing at the Tate.