The son of famed portrait painter William Moore (1790-1851), Moore studied at Kensington grammar school until 1858 whn he enrolled at the Royal Academy. After a brief period of Pre-Raphaelitism Moore began to exhibit classical subjects in the 1860s. His later work consists entirely of single Grecian figures such as Anemones (1880), or groups of figures, carefully posed in an elaborate design.
In these small paintings Moore used the accessories to create harmonious compositions in colour, while their original audience would also have appreciated the symbolic undertones. Moore believed that the purpose of art was primarily to be decorative and that subject matter was inconsequential. Despite his work being figurative, Moore conceived them in abstract terms, where form, line and colour speak for themselves. Moore often used fabrics to create pattern in his work, both as a backdrop and also in the tight rhythmic folds of the costume.
Moore’s artistic theories made him one of the leading artists of the Aesthetic Movement, along with James McNeill Whistler, Frederick Leighton, and Edward Burne-Jones. Whistler admired, and was probably influenced by, Moore’s “genuine feeling for the juxtaposition and interrelation of colour”, and Moore’s monogram - the Greek anthemion, which he incorporated into the design of his pictures - may well have given Whistler the idea of using the butterfly monogram.