'E.O.W.' - Estella (Stella) West - began posing regularly for Auerbach in the early 1950s, and continued to do so until 1973. By then he had completed about 80 drawings and paintings of her. This drawing was made entirely from life and took almost 70 sittings. In line with his usual practice, Auerbach constantly drew, erased and reworked the image. The final image is therefore built upon numerous previous attempts. In this way the portrait is saturated with the artist's accumulated experience of the model. As a result of this long process the paper became torn and abraded and necessitated the patch visible in the drawing.