Jonas Langford Brooke (1758-1784) embarked on his Grand Tour in 1783 with his tutor Dr. John Parkinson. At the beginning of 1784 he arrived in Naples to meet an old college friend and close aquaintance Sir James Graham, 1st Bt. (1761-1824) travelling with his mentor, the Rev. Thomas Brand.
Brooke and Graham joined one another in Naples and in the weeks that followed toured the sights of Rome. On 19 May they left for Venice and spent another two weeks there, where Brooke was drawn in pastel by Hugh Douglas Hamilton. John Ramsay, son of the artist Allan Ramsay, records in his Diary that Brooke 'sat to Mr Hamilton for his picture' on 28 May 1784 (see Diary, National Library of Scotland). This is confirmed by the records of Dr. John Parkinson, Brooke's companion.
Together Brooke and Graham took a course in antiquities with other friends making the tour. After Venice the two friends went their separate ways, Graham set off for Geneva and Brooke travelled to Milan. This departure was to mark the end of their great friendship, for Brooke died of a fever in his rooms at the Auberge Impériale on 19 July 1784.
The present drawing, depicting Brooke in an English woodland setting, with his spaniel at his feet, must have been executed before his Grand Tour began.