In the 1890s Eugene had worked in New York on stage designs for the play of 'Rip Van Winkle', which starred the actor Joseph Jefferson. Eugene also specialised in theatrical portraits and the boy in this image has a studied poise which suggests he may be the actor’s child. Eugene manipulated his photogravures to enhance their relation to paintings and graphics – here he has darkened the area around the boy to emphasise the head and hands and, more strikingly, to give a glow to the elaborate little tea cup. This interest in intensity of light and dark is emphasised by the semi-transparent quality of the Japan paper, which allows reflected light to shine through from the backing paper. This photogravure appeared in the influential quarterly photographic journal, 'Camera Work', published by Alfred Stieglitz.