The drawing is evidently traced from a study for the head of Christ in Rossetti's Mary Magdalene at the Door of Simon the Pharisee, an elaborate pen-and-ink drawing of 1858-9. The finished work is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the study in a private collection (see Surtees, no. 109, pl. 156, and 109F, pl. 161). An inscription on the study in Rossetti's hand states that it was 'drawn (1859) from E. Burne-Jones as a study for head of Christ'. Burne-Jones had been Rossetti's devoted follower since 1856.
It is not clear in what circumstances the tracing was made, but it is by a competent hand and could well be by Rossetti himself.