The present work dates from relatively early in Woods's career. Having studied in his native town of Warrington, Lancashire, and at the South Kensington Schools, he worked first as an illustrator for the Graphic and other magazines. He began to exhibit at the Royal Academy from 1869 onwards, and in 1876, at the suggestion of his brother-in-law, the painter Sir Luke Fildes, he visited Venice for the first time in search of new subject matter. The city was to enthrall him, and in the 1880s he moved there permanently, sending scenes of the city's streets and canals to London regularly for exhibition.
Of the present picture, the critic of the 1879 Art Journal reported: 'HENRY WOOD'S [sic] small picture of A Country Studio (166), which hangs close to Alma-Tadema's Hearty Welcome, represents the interior of a country barn, through the door of which we look out upon the artist busy at his easel. It is capitally painted, and not unworthy of the distinguished neighbourhood in which it finds itself.'