Willing attended the Slade School of Art from 1949 to 1954, studying both sculpture and painting. For both disciplines, much time was spent drawing and painting in the Slade School life room, where this work was executed. At this time Willing was interested in the work of Giacometti and Bacon. From Giacometti Willing learnt how to capture the resemblance of the model by a painstaking concentration on perception, while from Bacon Willing learnt to seize the presence of the sitter. 'Standing Nude' is a striking example of such lessons learnt.