The letter dates to around December 1906 or January 1907, and it is one of the earliest mentions of Homage to Manet (1909; Manchester City Art Gallery), and the first inkling that Orpen was considering a second portrait group, the resolution of which was probably the Café Royal (1912; Museé d'Orsay, Paris), in which three artists (Augustus John, William Nicholson and James Pryde) of the six originally mentioned in this letter are included.
Orpen was using writing paper that belonged to William Nicholson, then resident in Mecklenburgh Square, and this letter may well coincide with the time Orpen was allowing William Nicholson use of the studio in South Bolton Gardens. Hugh Lane also shared rooms with Orpen at 8 Bolton Gardens South and often to Orpen's annoyance would clutter the studio with pictures and objects d'art that he acquired. However, it did have its advantages sometimes as this illustration shows. It gave Orpen the opportunity to copy Manet's Portrait of Eva Gonzales (1869-70; National Gallery, London: Lane Bequest, 1917) for the centrepiece of his Homage to Manet. Lane had acquired the Manet when forming the collection originally intended for Dublin's Gallery of Modern Art. The collection, in turn, became the disputed 'Lane Bequest', the control of which resided with the Tate Gallery in London.