Edwin Edwards was a lawyer by training, but he also practised as an artist and etcher, and exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. He first met Fantin-Latour while in Paris in 1861. In a letter of 1874 Fantin-Latour described a projected double portrait which would depict Edwards sitting working at his etching table with his wife at his side 'like a guardian angel'. By February 1875 the couple were in Paris for the sittings.
In the final painting, the artist produced a modified version of his first idea. Edwards sits at an angle, seemingly unaware of the spectator, while his wife faces the viewer with an uncompromising stare. The portrait was exhibited at the Salon of 1875, where it received a second-class medal.