Mary was the eldest child of William Hoare. She later married into a banking family. Mary was born at a time when ladies were actively discouraged from becoming professional artists. However, William saw fit to encourage her to nurture her abilities: 'It is my endeavour and desire to make the subjects she is employed in, a lesson to herself as well as an exercise of her ingenuity' (see E. Newby, William Hoare of Bath, Bath, 1990, p. 16). Mary trained at home making copies after book engravings, or after her father's own drawings. She won the gold palette for a drawing by a young person under the age of 16 at the Society of Arts in 1760, but was not allowed to collect her prize. Evelyn Newby has suggested that the present drawing probably relates to a costume print and was executed after such a publication under the supervision of her father. The print would have been monochrome, but the particular charm of the present drawing is in the use of red as well as black pencil.
This drawing was not included in the album mentioned in the introduction.