For a note on Dobson, see opposite page.
The picture's first owner, Sir William Bowman, was a distinguished oculist who numbered D.G. Rossetti and G.F. Watts among his patients. He owned Watts's portrait of Tennyson sold in these Rooms on 25 March 1994, lot 73, as well as a self-portrait of the artist (Tate Gallery), a portrait of himself by Watts, and a painting by Rossetti (Virginia Surtees, Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1971, no.114. R.1). It is probably significant that all these works and the present picture date from the mid or late 1860s. Dobson too may well have been a patient of Bowman's, and contributed to a collection which he was forming at this period. Bowman owned at least two other examples of his work, Mama's Birth-Day and The Nativity, lending them to the International Exhibition in Dublin in 1865 (nos.13 and 136 respectively).