The drawing appears to be taken from the lithograph in Jacques Arago's Promenade Autour du Monde (Paris, 1822), one of three plates of Australian subjects. The drawing depicts a native of Port Jackson as a fierce warrior with a human head hanging from his waist. The 1819 French expedition under the command of Louis de Freycinet, on which Arago was one of the official artists, had witnessed a gathering of New Zealand natives in Sydney trading in shrunken heads. It is possible that Arago may have confused this event in his memory, since he shows a Port Jackson aborigine.
Unlike the lithograph, the present drawing is signed 'J.- N. Roux fecit' and dated 1824, two years after Arago's publication. Roux had been an officer on Marion de Fresne's voyage to the Pacific in 1771 and it is well documented that Roux's observations of Aboriginal weapons, especially the waddy (or club) as held by this native, were the first records of Aboriginal armaments. Roux's findings may have been used in Arago's composition of this drawing. The present drawing does show some variations to the published version, especially in the addition to the background foliage. It remains unclear why it should have been produced two years after Arago's original publication of the image