E.R. Hughes was a nephew of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Arthur Hughes and acted as a studio assistant to Holman Hunt when the elderly artist's eyesight was failing, notably by completing the large version of The Light of the World in St Paul's Cathedral. His own work is epitomised by Night with her Train of Stars (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), the atmospheric symbolist painting of 1912 that has gained such currency since it was included in the Last Romantics exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, in 1989. Like most of his finished pictures, this is in watercolour, but Hughes also worked extensively in chalk. Portrait drawings in red chalk are particularly characteristic; the effect achieved in the present study appears to be more unusual.