Francis Robert West was the son of Robert West (d.1770). He was taught by his father and succeeded him as Master of the Dublin Society Schools. He also appears to have spent some time in the French Academy of Arts. We know of his works from the catalogues of the Society of Artists of Ireland, which mentions pastels of subjects and 'portraits in conversation'.
West's most important series of conversation pieces has only recently come to light. It consists of nine ovals showing various occupations in the life of the Brooke and Vesey families done in the late 1770's and which bear strong similarities in style and palette to the present example (see A. Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, The Watercolours of Ireland, London, 1994, p.65, pls. 74-76.). Two examples, only recently correctly attributed were included in the Malahide Castle sale; Christie's, 10 May 1976, lots 628, 629 (illustrated) and depict a soldier pushing a man in a sleigh and a figures going to a costume ball also bear strong similarities in the mood and poise of the figures. As in the present drawing West displays a penchant for fancy dress.
The present drawing is in a contemporary Irish lacquer frame and is comparable to those used for watercolours by Samuel Dixon (fl.1748-69) (see A. Crookshank and Knight of Glin op.cit., p. 110, pl. 139.)