This watercolour was one of a series of six that Burne-Jones painted in 1867. They were based on his designs for stained glass in the Green Dining Room at the South Kensington (now Victoria and Albert) Museum, which had been decorated by William Morris the previous year. The three windows each contain two lights in which girls dressed in white are seen gathering flowers, a very early expression of the Aesthetic Movement. However, in the paintings, which were probably executed directly on top of the stained-glass cartoons, the figures' dresses are strongly coloured.
Although some of the watercolours remained unfinished, they were framed together and collectively called The Garland. They were then acquired by Charles Augustus Howell, the Anglo-Portugese adventurer who plays such a sinister role in Pre-Raphaelite annals, no doubt being intended for one of the decorative schemes with which he was involved. Burne-Jones himself refers to them in his autograph work-record as 'unfinished and in the hands of that demon Howell'. At a later date they were split up and framed separately. They are now widely dispersed.
The present picture is one of the more highly finished, although it is not as complete as the one in the Cecil French Bequest displayed at Leighton House, Kensington. The latter was included in the Arts Council of Great Britain's touring exhibition, Burne-Jones - The Paintings, Graphic & Decorative Work of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1833-1898, 1975, no. 195, and again in the exhibition Burne-Jones and his Followers, circulated in Japan by the Tokyo Shimbun, 1987, no. 7 (illustrated in catalogue). Most of the other figures are also recorded; for details, see A.C. Sewter's monograph on William Morris's stained glass, loc. cit.
The picture is in a handsome tabernacle frame of a type that Agnew's, Burne-Jones's dealers, often gave his pictures in the 1890s.