'This drawing dated January 1907 was part of an illustrated letter Orpen sent to his wife, Grace. At the time he was undertaking a commission to paint General Henry Merrick Lawson (later Lieutenant-General, Sir, K.C.B.), who at that time was Commander of the 13th Infantry Brigade, Dublin and was himself a member of the Kildare Street Club, 'the most aristocratic in Dublin', according to a contemporary Ward Lock guide.
The event occurred just before the infamous opening night of J.M. Synge's Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey Theatre which resulted in the affair sometimes known as 'the Playboy Riots', in which Lane himself played a significant part.
The illustrated letter is described by Bruce Arnold (Orpen, Mirror to an Age, London, 1981, p.152, p.247 (illustrated)), who identified the diners as Hugh Lane, Orpen's brother, Richard, E.L. Alabaster [Orpen's cousin], General Lawson and Orpen himself, 'shown as half the size of everyone else''.