The original owner – John Forbes White (1831-1904) was a wealthy Aberdeen flour miller. He became interested in photography in his early twenties, learning wax paper processes from his boyhood friend and later brother-in-law, Thomas Keith. White took no more than one hundred wax paper negatives and had abandoned photography altogether by the time of his marriage in 1859. As White’s wealth grew, he transferred his passion to picture collecting, purchasing his first Dutch painting at an exhibition in London in 1862, and later becoming an influential patron of contemporary Scottish art.
A very similar drawing by Hogarth was found in the Witt Library archive, London. The picture shows us two almost identical figures engaged in the same posture as our drawing. This particular example is catalogued as being in the collection of H. Reitlinger, (possibly Henry Scipio Reitlinger) London.