This drawing is a study for a portrait of Helne Rouart painted in 1886 (Lemoisne, no. 869; coll. The National Gallery, London). Helne was the daughter of Degas's close friend Henri Rouart, a successful engineer and an amateur painter. Degas first painted Helne in 1872, when she was nine years old seated on the lap of her father (Lemoisne, no. 424; Private collection, New York). She is seen here, now twenty-three years old and prior to her marriage to Eugne Marin, in her father's study in their house on the rue de Lisbonne, Paris. There are several related pastels which show Helne propped on the arm of the chair and facing to the right (Lemoisne, nos. 870, 870bis and 871).