Australian born diplomat Richard Casey was appointed by the British Government to the post of Governor of Bengal in 1944. While there, his wife Maie and he became friends with Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi. After Indian Independence in 1947, the Caseys returned to Australia but maintained their relationship with Mr. Nehru and Mrs. Gandhi. A trained painter herself, Mrs. Casey was passionately interested in art, and used her position as a diplomat's wife to support the arts both in Australia and overseas.
In her 1966 memoir Maie Casey recalls, "I was asked to go to London in March 1953 to judge an international sculpture competition [...] On my way back to Australia I was to my delight invited to be the guest of the Governments of India and Pakistan. Mr. Nehru, Prime Minister of India, invited me to luncheon with him [...] His daughter Mrs. Indira Gandhi lived with him with her two sons. Her great beauty was unlike that of her aunt Mrs. Pandit, who was then President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, nor was the expression of her face like that of her father which was a rare blend of subtlety and radiance. Hers was a powerful distant beauty [...] The luncheon was a family affair, the more appreciated and enjoyed by me [...] He took me to see his pictures and spoke of the need for women in public life." (M. Casey, Tides and Eddies, London, 1966)
Appointed a life peer by the British Parliament in 1960, Lord Casey became Governor General of Australia in 1965. In this capacity, in May 1968, Lord and Lady Casey welcomed Mrs. Gandhi to Australia on her first official state visit as the Prime Minister of India. It was during her stay at Government House, Canberra, that the present painting by B. Prabha was given to Lady Casey as a personal gift from Mrs. Gandhi, a reminder of her love of art and time in India.