This drawing is a study for Lambert’s revised version of the head of the mother in his major painting, Important people c.1914 (cat.54) Her head is in the same position as in the painting with her eyes looking downward, and she wears a similar open-necked jacket and broad-brimmed hat. But the effect is quite distinct: there is a gentle sweetness to this face and a slight melancholy. Lambert hardened her facial features in the painting, and made her expression slightly petulant or disdainful.
The model for the drawing was Eunice Graham (1886–1968), née Mort, the sister of Australian artist Eileen Mort. She trained as a violinist and pianist in Sydney. She lived with Australian artist Thea Proctor throughout the war while her husband was interned in Germany. This included a time in the Lamberts’ home. Lambert also used her as a model for his painting An Australian lady (Mrs Gilbert Graham) 1917 (present whereabouts unknown). Eunice Graham told her daughter that in London, sometime between 1915 and 1917, Lambert reworked the face of the woman in Important people , using Eunice as a model.