This portrait was painted in 1945, when Bet Low was just twenty-one years old, and still at Glasgow School of Art. The sitter is Billy Higgins, a Glasgow ‘character’ (variously recalled as a dancer, a businessman, a cook and a small-time con-man) who became friendly with Low and her then boyfriend, also a student at the School of Art. Higgins posed one day for both artists, and Low recalled that she painted this work very quickly. The painting was mentioned in an article in a Glasgow newspaper the following year, and the reporter noted: “B. Low is a young modern painter of Glasgow, who in this portrait tries to give an impression of a man thinking, and who is not afraid to modify the forms of reality to produce the strongest expression possible”.