Although Godward had exhibited almost yearly at the Royal Academy during the last decades of the 19th century, neo-classical painting had fallen out of favour by the twentieth. Matrona Superba is one of only five recorded paintings dating from 1920, two years before the artist's death. Whilst it is bold in its reclamation of those classical ideals that Godward revered, there is perhaps a touch of the contemporary too. The model's appraising gaze, and her commanding bearing, coupled with her closely wound hair, argue her fitness for the decade. Ten years previous, Godward's maidens had chignons tied at the base of their necks; were frequently depicted in profile and accessorised with some aide to leisure such as a fan, perfume phial or billet-doux.