Irene and Mary MacDonald were two of the five children of Scottish novelist and poet George MacDonald. Carroll was a friend of the family, and the children affectionately called him "Uncle." It was the MacDonalds to whom he read the manuscript of The Adventures of Alice and who urged him to publish the work. Carroll photographed the family on several occasions. This photograph, which includes the children's friend Flo Rankin standing in the middle, was produced during the photographer's stay at Elm Lodge in Hampstead the week of July 25, 1863.