George Richmond and Henry Walter belonged to a group of young artists who were known as the Ancients. With Samuel Palmer as their leader they gathered around the artist and poet William Blake from 1824 until Blake's death in 1827. Richmond was specially close to Blake and the rough gypsum and clay ground on which this portrait is drawn shows the influence of Blake's 'fresco' technique. Walter (c.1786-1849), who was a drawing master, was one of Palmer's earliest friends. Richmond, whose art was at first inspired by Blake's, went on to become an eminent Victorian portrait painter. This closely studied portrait was one of several he made of his fellow Ancients.