This drawing is related to two paintings: one Le sommeil de Diane by Boucher (fig. 1), last seen in the Sigismond Bardac sale (François Boucher, A. Ananoff and D. Wildenstein, Lausanne-Paris, 1976, I, no. 214, pp. 327-328, fig. 651); and another by Boucher's pupil, Pierre-Charles Le Mettay (1726-59), last recorded in the collection of Charles Sedelmeyer and formerly owned by the Vicomte du Barry. The Mettay painting seems to be a copy of Boucher's painting from the Bardac sale.
Both paintings can be linked to this drawing thanks to a sketch by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin in the margin of du Barry's 1774 sale catalogue (E. Dacier, Catalogue de ventes et livrets de salons illustrés par Gabriel de Saint-Aubin: Catalogue de la vente A. Du Barry (1774), III, 1910, p. 28, repr. p. 42). The Mettay painting was included in this sale, and under the entry for it Saint-Aubin wrote 'd'après M. Boucher', and at the top of the page 'd'après une très belle étude de M. Boucher qui j'ai acheté à la vente de M. Agar'. There is no record of the Agar sale, but the drawing that Saint-Aubin acquired from his collection which would have been the basis for Boucher's painting could very well be the present one.
An offset of a drawing of a reclining woman in reverse to the present drawing and with the woman's left arm folded across her stomach was sold at Sotheby's, London, 10 December 1968, lot 78 (Ananoff and Wildenstein, op. cit., p. 328, under no. 214, fig. 214/2).
We are grateful to Alastair Laing for confirming the attribution to Boucher on the basis of a photograph and providing us with the above information about the drawing.