This sketch of trees, possibly a study for the background of a painting, shows Wilkie experimenting with shade and tone. It is likely to have been sketched outdoors, and demonstrates a turn away from academic studio based learning to an understanding of forms and subjects based on personal observation. Wilkie was a fine draughtsman, but his drawings were entirely functional and not intended for display. Landscape drawings by Wilkie are particularly rare, undoubtedly because he was primarily a painter of historical and genre scenes. For his paintings, Wilkie would make numerous small preparatory sketches and compositional studies before working them up into a final composition.