This is a rare foray by Leighton into the realms of interior decoration: one of only three domestic decorative projects that the artist undertook (apart from the creation of his own magnificent studio house). The lunette was apparently commissioned by Stewart Hodgson, a wealthy stockbroker, for the drawing room, or, according to Alice Corkran, the ball-room, of his house at 1, South Audley Street, Mayfair. It may relate to two friezes commissioned by Hodgson for the same rooms on the theme of Music, and Dance. These are now at Leighton House. Leighton also completed friezes with the same theme for the American Henry Marquand, who commissioned a suite of furniture and a memorable piano (now in the Sterling and Francine Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts) from Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
The third sequence of decorative paintings that Leighton executed, of dancing girls and athletes, for the stairs of 44 Belgrave Square, the London house of Mrs Percy Wyndham, were well received when offered at Christie's London, 7 June 1996, lots 569-571. Like the present, lot they were executed on a gold ground, and were the quintessence of the extreme 'aesthetic' taste of the day.