There are several oil sketches for this previously untraced work. One was formerly in the Donald Munson collection (sold in these Rooms, 4 May 1995, lot 29) with another in the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (G. Ackerman, op. cit., no. 240B). A charcoal study of the same subject was also sold in these Rooms, 10 February 1995, lot 140.
This, the prime version, differs from the relatively finished oil sketches, with greater definition to the attendant, the rays of light, the patterned floor 'as well as a more concerned, even coy glance on the part of the nude. This is not a public bath but private quarters and the Nubian servant is preparing a lather of palm oil for a final scrubbing.' (G. Ackerman in the catalogue of the exhibition, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Art Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Baltimore, Maryland, The Walters Art Gallery, 10 November 1972-20 May 1973, p. 98).