The recto of the present drawing is a study for Wilkie's The Breakfast (Private Collection) painted 1815-17, although the present sketch dates from circa 1815, when the picture was commissioned by the Marquis of Stafford for the Stafford Gallery. The fully-worked compositional study (recto) shows that the artist's ideas for the painting were well-developed at this early stage. While working on the final canvas in 1816, Wilkie wrote to the Earl of Leven that 'it has no story in it, but ... it affords the means of conveying an idea in the Picture of the most complete English comfort.' (H.A.D. Miles and D.B. Brown, Sir David Wilkie of Scotland 1785-1841, North Carolina, 1987, pp. 14 and 15.)
It has not been possible to identify the heads and figures on the verso, though the slighter scene played out across the bottom of the sheet is a composition for The Arrival of a Rich Relation, the composition for which was almost certainly devised by 1822 and was painted between 1823 and 1825. This picture is now lost, although a fragment survives in the Glasgow Art Gallery.