Leech met the sitter's mother, May Botterell in 1919, after the family's return from Holland to London, through his brother, Cecil. Percy Botterell, a London lawyer, had been a commercial attach to The Hague during the Great War, and on his return to London, he commissioned a portrait of his wife May, one of himself and one of each of his three children, Jim, Guy and Suzanne. Soon after meeting, Leech and May fell in love, and a forty-five year relationship ensued. They finally married in 1953, on the death of May's husband.
Denise Ferran (National Gallery of Ireland Exhibition Catalogue, 1996, p.190) comments on the present work: 'In this work, painted circa 1920, after completing his portrait of May, Leech captures her daughter, Suzanne in an innocent pose, in bare feet and a simple, blue smock dress with a large white collar. Leech paints her vulnerability and childlike, wide-eyed innocence, yet with a questioning look to the viewer, as Augustus John portrayed his son, Robin (National Gallery of Wales). However, Leech's paint handling differs from John's in his use of feathered brushstrokes to pattern the pale blues of Suzanne's dress and the shadows on her legs, which constrasts with the paint handling of the background. These striped brushstrokes evoke Roderic O'Conor, but without his Fauve colour. The tonal harmonies and the introduction of a flowering Japanese-style white bush, combined with the oriental-type signature, suggest a Whistler influence, as does the patterned pewter frame. Leech uses a customary device of illuminating the face with light coming in from the right, which highlights Suzanne's gentle face, her upturned nose and shining blond hair.
Suzanne, the youngest of the Botterell children, was a lovely little seven-year-old when Leech met her, and a surviving photograph of Suzanne with her mother shows how beautiful mother and daughter were in 1924. At this stage, Suzanne was frequently with Leech, and another photograph captures him giving her a piggyback, with May and his brother Cecil, indicating the ease with which Suzanne shared Leech's company. She was to grow into a beautiful young woman whom Leech continued to paint, and she is possibly the subject of Woman by a Window (private collection, Dublin).