The recto of the present drawing is a study for Millet's pastel of the Newborn Lamb now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (A. Murphy, Jean-François Millet, exhib. cat., Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 1984, no. 114). The pastel was drawn in 1866 and is the culmination of a series of drawings of the theme in the Louvre, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, formerly in the Hazard Collection, Paris, and elsewhere (A. Murphy, op. cit., under no 114). In the final version Millet employs a horizontal format, as suggested by the alterations in present drawing, which emphasizes the narrative of the young shepherdess carrying the newborn lamb, followed by its mother, through the gate.
The verso relates to another drawing of circa 1866 depicting Marguerite Sensier as a baby, in the Sachs Collection at the Fogg Museum of Art, Cambridge (exhibited in the Memorial Exhibition, Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs, Cambridge, 1966, no. 52). Another related drawing is in the Louvre, in which Marguerite sits on her mother's lap (inv. 10620). Marguerite was the only surviving child of Alfred Sensier, Millet's friend and patron.