By 1852 Emma had become Brown's favourite model. She posed in all his main works including 'Chaucer at the Court of Edward III' (1851, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney), 'Pretty Baa-Lambs' (1956P9) and 'The Last of England' (1891P24). This is a more intimate portrait of her, and its side profile and downward gaze, recalls the portrait Brown made of her just after they had met in 1848 (1906P125).
When Emma sat for this study the couple had already had a child, Catherine, together in 1850 but were not yet married. Brown most likely put off marrying Emma because he was struggling financially and she was a working class girl who Brown may have felt lacked the social graces required by a middle class wife. At the end of 1852 she was living in Highgate North Hill and was attending a school for young ladies in order to prepare her for marriage. On 5 April 1853 the couple were married at St Dunstan's-in-the-West, Fleet Street, with Brown's two closest male friends, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Thomas Seddon, as witnesses.