This painting was commissioned by Rowland Egerton-Warburton (1804–1891) of Arley Hall to record the 1880 ceremony celebrating the marriage of Rowland's heir Piers Egerton-Warburton (1839–1914) to Antoinette Elizabeth Saumarez. It also records the 1880 revival of the 'Bawming the Thorn' ceremony, a unique annual ceremony held in Appleton in June.
The Appleton Thorn tree is said to be a descendant of the famous Glastonbury Thorn (said to have sprung from Christ's crown of thorns) planted in 1178 by the lord of the manor, Adam De Dutton. The custom of decorating or "bawming" this special thorn tree with red ribbons and flower garlands each June has evolved over the centuries. In 1880 a new tree was planted and a song composed
Up with fresh garlands, this midsummer morn, Up with red ribbons on Appleton Thorn Come lasses and lads to the Thorn tree today To bawm it and shout as yet bawm it "Hurray".