The attribution was kindly confirmed by Alastair Laing who compares the drawing in its composition and handling to another red chalk académie dated by Marianne Roland-Michel to 1740-1745, M. Roland-Michel, Le dessin français au XVIIIe siècle, Fribourg, 1987, p. 70, fig. 57. Both drawings share the same model with an anonymous red chalk académie in the Mathias Polakovits Collection, J. H. Rubin, Eighteenth-Century French Life-Drawing, Selections from the Collection of Mathias Polakovits, exhib. cat., Princeton, University Art Museum, 1977, p. 23, fig. 2.
James Henry Rubin believes the figures to be of the Academy model Deschamps, a model at the académie for more than forty years. Deschamps was so popular that he was said by Watelet and Levesque to have been studied for 'almost all the figures of painting of the French school', quoted by J. H. Rubin, op. cit., p. 22.
The first owner of this drawing was Jean-Denis Lempereur (1701-1779), a jeweller and échevin of the city of Paris. He was one of the most discriminating drawings collectors of 18th Century France, along with his friend Pierre-Jean Mariette. The two collectors worked together on a book on Bouchardon's equestrian statue of King Louis XV. It was also Lempereur who advised the Cabinet du Roi in their purchase of drawings at the Mariette sale in 1775. Lempereur sold his drawing collection in his lifetime. The sale contained amongst others the celebrated Michelangelo study for the Risen Christ sold from the Brinsley Ford collection at Christie's London, 4 July 2000, lot 83. Another drawing from the Lempereur sale is lot 84 of the present sale.
Alastair Laing described Lempereur's provenance as 'a good guarantee' for Boucher's drawings (letter dated 23 November 2000). The collector had not less than 43 lots of Boucher drawings in his sale, some of which he had bought himself at Boucher's posthumous sale of 1771.