Landseer's sketches of views in the Highlands seem to have been mainly made between 1825 and 1835. His first visit to Scotland was in 1824 when he went to visit Sir Walter Scott, amongst others, and fell under the spell of the countryside at once. He returned to the Highlands every autumn, and from then on Scottish subjects dominated his oeuvre. From 1827 he stayed with the Duke and Duchess of Bedford's party at Glenfeshie. Here he would indulge in his favourite pastime of stalking as well as making endless sketches on the spot of the rugged and wild countryside that fascinated him so much. The picturesque scenery intoxicated him and exercised a strong influence upon his work for many years. His sketches seem to have been done for pleasure and on the whole not for use in his major paintings. Many of them were included in his studio sale. Landseer was one of the first artists to give visual expression to the romantic view of the Highlands, which still affects our attitudes today.
The present sketch bears similarities, particularly in the landscape, to a finished oil of 1824 painted on the artist's first visit to Scotland and showing four of the children of the 6th Duke of Bedford. The picture was exhibited in the 1961 Landseer Exhibition, no. 67.