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The first purchaser of this work was Walter Butterworth, who in 1911 negotiated the purchase of three bronzes by Rodin for the Manchester City Art Gallery. On his visit to Rodin's house at Meudon outside Paris, Butterworth had been struck by this painted plaster and later asked if he might purchase an example for himself. In his reply, dated 26 December 1911, Rodin described the work as 'a plaster which is in a slightly poor state, but which is beautiful nevertheless'. A week later Rodin wrote again saying that he would like to give Butterworth the plaster as a souvenir of his visit to Paris and of his friendship. At least twenty-two bronzes and two marble versions of this sculpture are known to exist.