The last ten years of John Waterhouse’s life were overshadowed by illness. However, he worked prodigiously right up until his death from cancer in 1917, leaving his final work 'The Enclosed Garden' unfinished and now in the collection of the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool.
Very little is known of John Waterhouse 's private life - only a few letters have survived and thus, for many years, the identity of his models has been a mystery. One letter that has survived indicates that Mary Lloyd, the model for Lord Leighton's masterpiece Flaming June, posed for Waterhouse. The well-known Italian male model, Angelo Colorossi, who sat for Leighton, Millais, Sargent, Watts, Burne-Jones and many other Victorian artists, also sat for Waterhouse.