This work is a study for the painting ‘A Portrait Group,’ which is in the collection of the Modern One. The boy is one of Cowie’s pupils from Bellshill Academy, where the artist taught briefly before the First World War and subsequently from 1918-35. His pupils feature frequently in his paintings and drawings of this period. In ‘A Portrait Group’, Cowie planned the painting by using individual studies, like this work. This formal and self-conscious way of organising the composition resulted in a painting in which the figures do not relate to each other. Cowie was particularly influenced by early Italian Renaissance artists.