This study of a girl is preliminary study for 'The Rose Bower', the fourth of Edward Burne-Jones's 'Briar Rose' series of paintings (now in the National Trust's collections). The drawing shows the head of a sleeping maiden, one of Beauty's attendants, holding a musical instrument and seated on the ground by the bed of in which the princess lies. In the finsihed painting the girl has a much simpler hairstyle. The same figure appears in a simplifies variant of 'The Rose Bower' painting (gouache on canvas) in a private collection. Another slightly different varient of a girl's head is in the collection of Hammersmith and Fulham Libraries.
'The Briar Rose' pictures originated in a series of painted tiles illustrating 'The Sleeping Beauty', designed by Burne-Jones in 1864 for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. The small scenes were subsequently enlarged and much-developed into several sequences of painting.