Florence Leyland was the second oldest daughter of Frederick Richard Leyland and Frances Leyland. She had one brother, Frederick Dawson Leyland, and two sisters, Fanny being the oldest, Elinor the youngest. Florence married the artist Valentine Cameron Prinsep in 1884 and together they had three sons.
The Leyland daughters frequently posed to Whistler in the 1870s. Florence Leyland appears in a number of pastel drawings dating from 1873/5, casually posed within interior settings in frilly dresses, including Portrait of Miss Florence Leyland (M.509), Florence Leyland in a green and orange dress (M.523), Florence Leyland in a purple dress (M.524), Florence Leyland seated (M.525) and Head of Florence Leyland (M.526). Whistler also completed a drypoint of her around 1872, showing her in short skirts and with a hoop, Florence Leyland (K.110).
Whistler was further commissioned by F. R. Leyland to paint his daughter's portrait, Portrait of Miss Florence Leyland (YMSM 107), possibly in November 1871 when Whistler was staying at Speke Hall and when he painted a portrait of Frances Leyland, Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: Portrait of Mrs Frances Leyland (YMSM 106). However, according to Pennell, Florence Leyland posed when she was seventeen or eighteen, that is, in 1876 or 1877. Whistler seems to have completed the portrait using the head of Maud Franklin, following a quarrel with F. R. Leyland.
At her father's death in 1892, Florence Leyland came into possession of both Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland (YMSM 97) and Portrait of Miss Florence Leyland (YMSM 107).
Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.