These two studies of an old woman were actually used for the faces of two old men in Brown's painting 'Chaucer at the Court of Edward III' (1851, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney) begun in 1845. Originally 'Chaucer' was the central panel in a triptych honouring English poetry but Brown later found the project to be too ambitious and discarded the wings. Brown used the face of the old woman looking down for the ill-tempered courtier sitting nearest the lecturn on the left . He used the study of her face in profile for the old man, with a beard, sittting next to him. Brown must have wanted to study an elderly person and found that the efffect he wanted was not dependent on the sex of his sitter. These studies were completed in 1851 the same year that the painting was finished. The collection also holds drapery studies for these figures (see 1906P671, 1906P734 and 1906P735).