The present pastel is a copy after Gainsborough's double portrait in the Dulwich Picture Gallery (see R. Beresford, Dulwich Picture Gallery, complete illustrated catalogue, London, 1998, p. 109, pl. 320).
The original oil painting depicts Elizabeth Anne Linley (1754-1792) and Mary Linley (1758-1787), the eldest daughters of Thomas Linley the elder. Elizabeth and Mary, talented singers, who performed in both Bath and London, both married playwrights. Elizabeth married Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1773 and Mary married Richard Tickell in 1780. The oil painting is thought to have been painted in 1771/2 and possibly re-touched by the artist in 1785.