In a letter dated 26 December 1944 the artist wrote to the picture's first owner:
'One June we were driving north in Spain to escape from an atrocious (to us) heat wave in Seville and Madrid and when nearing Burgos from Sepulveda ... I saw those big clumsy public-scales at a cross-roads near a village and some girls, very lightly clad, weighing each other (I should think just for fun) and skittering about. I confess to depicting them even more lightly clad than they really were. When I saw the group at the scales I thought 'What a thundering good subject!' but I was v. tired after a long run and could do no more than draw up for a few minutes and make a mental note. Next day I went back from Burgos and made a sketch of the scales - the girls were not there. The sketch was continually reminding me of the motif and when by chance appropriate models were available almost a year ago from now I enjoyed myself painting your oil'.