A group of men in armor, wearing plumed helmets and carrying swords, faces civilians dressed in the robes of scholars, or men of the church. One soldier presents something in his outstretched hand to the foremost man on the right, who holds a book or documents in his left hand. Someone squared the drawing in red chalk to make it easier to transfer the scene to another surface.
When Taddeo Zuccaro died in 1566, he was still working on the decorations for the room of Farnese history in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. He made this drawing as a preparatory sketch for a small scene set above one of the windows in the room. Scholars know that it represents an incident from the history of the Farnese family because the small boy on the left holds a shield decorated with lilies, the symbol of the Farnese. Although the exact significance of the gathering is uncertain, it may represent Cardinal Albornoz handing over the keys to the fortress of Valentano to the Farnese in 1534.