James Laver. "Vulgar Society": The Romantic Career of James Tissot, 1836–1902. London, 1936, ill. (front cover), as "In the Conservatory," in the collection of Mrs. Grant.
Graham Reynolds. Painters of the Victorian Scene. London, 1953, pp. 36, 99, fig. 101, observes that the conservatory, familiar in late Victorian fiction as a setting for exotic plants and passions, is here, with greater realism, a place for gossip and mild flirtation.
Willard Erwin Misfeldt. "James Jacques Joseph Tissot: A Bio-Critical Study." PhD diss., Washington University, 1971, pp. 162–63, 191, fig. 88, calls it "The Rivals," dates it 1879, and gives its location as unknown; erroneously states that it was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 1879 [see Ref. Wentworth 1984].
Michael Wentworth. James Tissot. Oxford, 1984, pp. xix, 6, 141–42, 145 n. 56, pl. 137, as "In the Conservatory (Rivals)"; notes that although "In the Conservatory" may not have been its original title, this work should not to be confused with another painting, now lost, entitled "Rivals," which was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 1879 [see Ref. Misfeldt 1971]; observes that it is part social conversation piece and part comedy of manners, and compares it to "Ball on Shipboard" (about 1874; Tate, London), and "Bunch of Lilacs" (about 1875; private collection).
Michael Wentworth in James Tissot. Exh. cat., Barbican Art Gallery, London. Oxford, 1984, pp. 21, 76, as whereabouts unknown; states that, given the repetition of costumes in this and other paintings, including "Ball on Shipboard" (Tate), knowing this picture's original title could elucidate differences in their respective subjects.
Christopher Wood. Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836–1902. Boston, 1986, pp. 106, 157, fig. 107 (color), as "In the Conservatory (Rivals)"; notes the similar background of tropical plants in "Bunch of Lilacs" (private collection).
Russell Ash. James Tissot. London, 1992, unpaginated, colorpl. 31.
Margaret Flanders Darby. "The Conservatory in St. John's Wood." Seductive Surfaces: The Art of Tissot. New Haven, 1999, pp. 163, 177–79, 181, colorpl. VII, states that the setting of this picture is at least partly based on the painting studio and conservatory at Tissot's home in St. John's Wood; comments that the division between the richly furnished studio and the conservatory terrace beyond the glass partitions suggest an "uncomfortable social drama" between the stranded identical twins and the woman on the terrace, who has successfully "crossed over into a very different stage of courtship".
Katharine Lochnan. "The Medium and the Message: Popular Prints and the Work of James Tissot." Seductive Surfaces: The Art of Tissot. New Haven, 1999, p. 11, colorpl. VII, states that this picture recalls the palette and the luxuriant foliage found in such chromolithographs as "Group of Bamboos" from "Nature and Art," published in 1866 by the leading British color printers, Day and Sons.
Carole G. Silver. "Tissot's Victorian Narratives: Allusion and Invention." Seductive Surfaces: The Art of Tissot. New Haven, 1999, pp. 128–29, pl. VII, asserts that the twins depicted in this picture are repeated from the left background of "Ball on Shipboard" (Tate) and that both works possibly allude to the twin sisters in G.J. Whyte-Melville's popular 1869 novel "M. or N.", adding that "the recurrence of these figures points to an internal narrative, a structure of self-allusion that makes his works unusually rich in implications".
Gary Tinterow in The Wrightsman Pictures. New York, 2005, pp. 406–9, no. 116, ill. (color), suggests that the artist may have sold it to Knowles before having had the opportunity to exhibit it.