Born and trained in Dublin, Orpen showed amazing talent at an early age and was sent off to London when he was only 15 to study at the Slade School. Like his contemporary, Augustus John, Orpen was a brilliant and prolific draftsman, who specialized in portraiture and figurative painting. For a time in the early 1900s, John and Orpen shared a teaching studio. This particular sketch reveals Orpen's mastery of technique as he creates a likeness and form with quick pencil strokes and broad shading while making effective use of the white of the paper. Drawing was an essential part of Orpen's artistry, and sketches such as this were undoubtedly exercises in recording quickly his impressions of a model rather than self-conscious studies for a composition.