Etty specialised in nude subjects throughout his career and continued to attend the Royal Academy's life-drawing classes even after he had started working as an independent painter. Female nudes, such as this, were influenced by his admiration for the works of Titian and Rubens, which he had seen during his travels in Continental Europe. The present work, which is datable to the period 1820-30, on account of its rather dry technique and relatively fully finished nature, does not appear to relate to a specific finished piece. Although in the early part of his career Etty was sometimes accused of indecency, his works were very sought after and he died a wealthy and well-respected man.
We are grateful to Dr. Dennis Farr, C.B.E. (author of William Etty, London, 1958) for his assistance in cataloguing this work.