In 1861 Thackeray began illustrating his serial story, The Adventures of Philip 1861-2 for the popular journal The Cornhill Magazine. However after producing four full-page drawings he decided to give up the task to Walker.
This is a watercolour version of Walker’s preliminary drawing for the illustration to the left. The image is reversed in the printmaking process. It was common for artists to produce watercolour or oil versions of their more successful illustrations, and the modern life subject matter of this work ensured its popularity.