According to De Cordova, 'Miss Alma-Tadema's panel was a birthday gift to her father, and is a reminiscence of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. It consists of flags of various nations floating in the breeze...There is in it a conceit as beautiful as it is refined...The lowermost flag is that of Holland, which no-one needs reminding is the country of Sir Lawrence's birth. Adorning the flag is a laurel wreath surrounding the initials LAT, and the whole world has united with the country of his birth in offering him that recognised mark of greatest distinction.'
It is not clear whether the artist was thinking of the Golden Jubilee of 1887 or the Diamond Jubilee of 1897, but the picture was certainly painted before 1902, the year of De Cordova's article. At some date after 1906 she contributed another panel to the scheme, entitled London Fog (sold Hampton's, London, 11 June 1913, lot 586; Sotheby's Belgravia, 5 November 1974, lot 58).
Each measuring a mere 2½ inches wide, the two panels were the narrowest in the entire sequence. In the case of Flags, this was particularly evident since the panel was placed immediately to the left of the widest of all the paintings, Marcus Stone's In the Garden.