The artwork in front of us here dates from 1914 and was put together using only red chalk, in line with most of Waterhouse's drawings from the latter part of his career. It remains a part of a private collection and this is the case for most of his sketched portraits that were sold off at auction around a decade later. Many were sold in job lots, suggesting that their value was not as considerable as it would be today. The best of his drawings would be stamped, ensuring a clearer level of authenticity for his work in this medium. Whilst this piece may not surface too often, there have been enough images of it for it to remain a notable piece within publications on the artist's career. It is also over 40cm in height, making it one of his larger drawings, no doubt being this way because the artist intended on adding a good amount of detail through the page.
Here we find the Marchioness of Downshire looking across to our left, whilst positioned in the classical side profile. Her outfit is elegant but fairly simple as this artist rarely went for overly glamorous depictions. She wears a small necklace around her neck and also a cloth over her hair, but is otherwise presented in her natural form. Her hair is tied into a bun, though fairly loosely as if she could change her appearance quickly if the artist suddenly changed his mind. Her expression is serious and focused, just as with many other drawings by this artist, and she has the typical features of pale skin and a slim frame which he used in most cases. Her jaw line is perhaps a little more prominent than with some of his other models, but overall she fits the Waterhouse look pretty closely. The main variation between the models would be the colour of their hair, with the artist happy to use either brunettes or red heads.
Waterhouse himself was associates with the Pre-Raphaelites but arrived a little too late to be considered an integral member. In any case, though, his work was entirely in line with their's, and some have actually rated his career highlights as potentially superior to anything that the likes of Holman Hunt, Millais and Burne-Jones could muster. In truth, they were all highly skilled artists who shared similarities but also had unique elements to each of their careers. In recent years there has been a growing interest in the work of these famous British artists and a greater acceptance of the abilities that they possessed. This is reflected in the number of exhibitions across the UK in recent years about the Brotherhood, as well as a number of connections which have been drawn between their work and that of notable artists in other movements.