Julia Augusta Davies was the daughter of a Vice-Admiral in the British Navy. She was educated, unusually for her time, in classical languages. She married a solicitor in 1863. Mother and Daughter, the unfinished sonnet sequence published after her death, is a tribute to her relationship with her daughter.
Webster initiated her writing career in 1860, initially writing under the
pseudonym Cecil Home. She was well received as a poet, a translator
of classical Greek, and a dramatist. She also wrote regular columns
for the periodical the Examiner. She spoke and wrote in the
campaign for female suffrage and was among the first women to be elected
to the London School Board. Augusta Webster's best work explores
the condition of women, whether in classical mythology or contemporary mythology,
using the form of the dramatic monologue. "A Castaway" presents in
its representation of prostitution an interesting counterpoint to Dante Gabriel
Rossetti's "Jenny." The two poems were written very close together
and there is some possibility that Webster, who was connected with the Rossetti
circle, may have seen the earlier poem in manuscript.