'The present portrait of Eileen Lavery was painted in 1912, the year of her marriage to John Dickinson. As a widower in the 1890s, Lavery's relationship with his only child by his first marriage was particularly close. She acted as his model on many occasions, posing for such major works as Pre et Fille, 1898 (Muse Orsay, Paris), Her First Communion, 1901 (Private Collection), The Amazon, 1910 (Ulster Museum, Belfast), and The Artist's Studio, 1911 (National Gallery of Ireland). Born in 1890, Eileen was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent at Roehampton. Although Lavery counted upon his friend and fellow Glasgow painter, William Patrick Whyte, to look after her during school holidays, she also accompanied the painter to Morocco, became an accomplished horsewoman and, after her second marriage to the Master of Sempill, a pilot. Alas, during the twenties she contracted tuberculosis, a disease which took her life at the age of forty-five, in the year in which Lavery also lost his beloved second wife, Hazel.
Attached to the back of the board a letter concerning copyright, from the artist to the original owner of the portrait, is dated 5 April 1917, and written on the notepaper of the Grand Hotel d'Angleterre, St. Jean-de-Luz, where Lavery produced an important series of seascapes of the bay. The painter's memory was at fault in that it indicates that the picture was painted in 1913 in Tangier, when it is known that Eileen went to Tangier for her marriage to Dickinson in April 1912'.
(Kenneth McConkey, private correspondence, 1999).