Machin studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London during the Second World War and was later elected to the Royal Academy. He developed a classical style and is best known for his relief portrait of the Queen which featured on stamps and coins from 1968 to 1984. This sculpture shows John the Baptist as a boy at prayer. His delicate physique is counterbalanced by his strong and direct gaze. Machin was imprisoned in 1944 as a conscientious objector. Themes of vulnerability and spiritual salvation may have meant as much to him as they did to wider society in a global war.