David John (1902-1974) was the first son of Augustus and Ida John. He was educated in Paris; at Alderney under the tutorship of John Hope-Johnstone; then at Dane Court where he was head boy; and finally at Westminster. For many years he was an oboist in the Sadler's Wells orchestra. He also worked as a postman and a furniture remover.
(see M. Holroyd, Augustus John, London, 1974).
The present work was executed in Paris where Augustus lived with Ida, Dorelia and the children between 1905-07. A very similar pencil drawing of David, aged four (5 x 5 in., Private Collection, U.K.) was exhibited at the National Gallery, London, Drawings of Augustus John, 1940, no.28. John's drawings of women and children executed during 1905-08 show the artist at the very height of his powers as a draughtsman.