A pupil of Watts, Prinsep had been born in Calcutta, the son of a distinguished Indian civil servant, and returned to India in 1876 following a commission from the Indian Government to paint the Durbar which was to proclaim Queen Victoria as Empress of India. He exhibited Indian subjects at the Royal Academy between 1878 and 1887, the present portrait one of the first of these, shown in 1878, the year he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy. He published an account of his visit to India, Imperial India: An Artist's Journals in 1879: ‘Whilst at Sreenugger I have painted two or three nautch girls, and it was through them that I got to this wedding, as they were amongst the singers. Now these girls, like most nautch girls in India, were all Moslemehs, yet had they all the caste feeling of the Hindoo. Of moral sentiment they were entirely innocent, but they would never permit any one to drink out of their cup or smoke from their hookah, and they always went about with these two utensils, for smoke and tea are the two things necessary to a Kashmiree. So in this song a Kashmiree Moslem is made to say "beautiful as Krishna.”’ (V. C. Prinsep, Imperial India: An Artist's Journals, London, 1879, p.228).