The present work is a study for Langley's important oil painting of 1894, Never morning wore to evening, but some heart did break (Birmingham City Art Gallery). The painting, the title of which is taken from Tennyson's In Memoriam, shows a young woman being comforted on Newlyn's quayside by Grace Kelynack, the elderly widow of a Newlyn fisherman.
Roger Langley (loc. cit.) tells the story of how the present study was given by the artist to Mr Jewell, the purchaser of the finished oil: 'Never morning wore to evening was sold direct from the easel, normally the occasion for much rejoicing, but then the Chantry Bequest approached Langley with a view to purchasing it for the nation. Dismayed, he sought to repurchase it at a price half as much again as the owner had paid but the latter, pleased at this confirmation of his own good taste, responded with a further cheque. This, in turn, embarrassed Langley and he promptly reciprocated by sending the owner a study for the painting [the present work]'.
Never morning wore to evening, but some heart did break was exhibited alongside the present study of Old Grace and a watercolour version of the portrait (private collection) in the touring exhibition, Walter Langley, Pioneer of the Newlyn Art Colony, 1997-98.