Dicksee's reputation as one of the finest artists of the late nineteenth century was based upon the romantic subject paintings of the first half of his career in the late 1870s and 1880s; pictures of renaissance courtiers in sunlit cloisters and modern-day melodramas in middle-class drawing-rooms. However by the turn of the century the popularity of narrative art was beginning to wane and he began to be more reliant on portrait commissions. Fortunately he was discerning in who he painted and his portraits of the beautiful wives and daughters of the wealthy industrialists, politicians and aristocrats, were among the most successful exhibits in the Royal Academy exhibitions of the early twentieth century. By the 1920s he had painted the likenesses of many of the most eminent men and women of his age including the wives of the Duke of Westminster, Lord Inverclyde, Lord Hillingdon, the engineer John Aird the man responsible for the building of the Aswan Dam and the removal of the Crystal Palace to Sydenham and the millionaire William Knox d'Arcy. Although by the 1920s the majority of Dicksee's exhibits at the Royal Academy were portraits, he painted several successful subject pictures the most accomplished of which is The Daughter's of Eve of 1925.
In a secluded and sunlit corner of an English orchard, a young woman gently pulls down the bough of an apple-tree laden with ripe golden fruit to a rosy-cheeked child who reaches upward with delight. A doll has been cast aside among the daisies growing amongst the grass. The older girl, a sister of the infant perhaps, is dressed in an apron and has her sleeves rolled as though she had been working in the kitchen. A table has been brought into the sunshine, laid out with a white tablecloth upon which is a loaf of freshly baked bread. The painting is an essay in domestic harmony and a celebration of the simpler life of the countryside. The title is one that had been used by many artists, including George Dunlop Leslie (offered in these rooms, 11 December 2007, lot 13).