Between 1911 and 1912 Orpen was developing his ideas and working on his major group composition The Café Royal (1912, the Musée d'Orsay, Paris), in the course of which he spent many hours at the Café. From February 1911 he would regularly update Mrs St George on his progress through illustrated letters (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin). Although this drawing does not relate directly to the composition, it does contain elements reminiscent of the final composition, such as the central position of the waiter and the way the hats and coats are hung. The annotation suggests that on one of his forays to the Café, instead of working, Orpen over-imbibed.
The Orpen Research Project.