A study for Holman Hunt's 'Eve of Saint Agnes' exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1848. Hunt sought Millais's assistance in completing the picture and worked on it in the younger artist's studio. It was also this picture which inspired Rossetti to turn to Hunt for help in painting his 'Ecce Ancilla Domini', the first work exhibited bearing the initials PRB. Later in the same year the three paintiners became the principal members of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood,a movement which revolutionized British art.
The blood hound in Hunt's sketch was lent to him by John Blount Price of Islington (as the artist later recalled). The importance of the dogs to Hunt's conception of the subject is refelected in the lines from Keats which he quoted in the Royal Academy exhibition catalogue 'The wakeful blood hound rose, and shook his hide, But his sagacious eye an imate owns'.