This is the first example of Burne-Jones using the medieval rhyme "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman", dating from the Peasant's Revolt of 1381. It is sad to observe that the model for Eve was Elizabeth Siddal, who cradles her child in her arms, while Adam, a portrait of Rossetti tends the garden , the couple were to lose their only child at birth, four years later in 1861.
Powell and Company had approached Rossetti and Madox Brown in an initiative to improve the design of stained glass which had been wholly dependent upon medieval precedents. They wished to revitalise stained glass as a modern form of art by recruiting contemporary artists. The present example is one of the most avant-garde of the period.
(The male model has previously been misidentified at being William Morris, this is incorrect.)