Beerbohm had conflicting views of George Bernard Shaw and his philosophies. 'His philosophy', said Beerbohm, 'rests like Plato's Republic, on a profound ignorance of human nature.' However the two men were friends, and their correspondence shows their amicable trading of insults. Beerbohm was equally contradictory about Shaw's plays:
'I never read anything of his without wishing that he had never been born and hoping that he will live to a ripe old age!'
In this present watercolour, Beerbohm adopts the persona of Georg(es) Brandes (1842-1927), the Danish critic and scholar, in order to illustrate the ambiguousness and naivety of Shaw's philosophy. As the seller of ideas, Brandes' adoption of Nietzschean 'aristocratic radicalism' and superman theory was the perfect foil to Beerbohm's idea of Shaw.