A study in black, red and white chalk for the same group, but with some differences, is at Frankfurt (inv. 1862; Französische Zeichnungen im Städelschen Kunstinstitut 1550 bis 1800, 1986-7, no. 89). In the Frankfurt sheet, the composition appears to be taken from further away, and the center is occupied by a figure seen from the back who does not appear in the present drawing.
It is generally considered a study for Boucher's painting of 1769, The Caravan of Gypsies now at Boston (A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Lausanne and Paris, 1976, II, no. 661), and has also been associated by M. Stuffmann with Saint John the Baptist preaching, dated 1761 and executed for the cathedral of Saint-Louis, Versailles (Ananoff, op. cit., no. 562).
We are grateful to Alastair Laing for confirming the attribution to Boucher. He suggests that the figure of the woman carrying a child in the foreground might have been retouched by another hand.