Johann Freidrich August Tischbein was the most talented of a large family of painters. He was first a pupil of his father Johann Valentin, and later with his uncle Johann Heinrich. Supported by Prince Friedrich von Waldeck he travelled to Paris and Rome, where he worked with both David and Mengs and studied the work of English portrait painters. He worked in most of the European courts, including St. Petersburg from 1806-1808. Although he does not appear to have ever travelled to England his work appears to show certain influences of both Gainsborough and Romney.
The present painting possibly belongs to that body of work undertaken in the final years of his life. It is close in style and technique to the portraits painted of the Nassau-Weilburg family particularly that of Prince William August Henri, completed in 1811, (Alex Wengraf Ltd. 1990). Known to sign the majority of his oils the absence of such a signature in this instance casts just enough doubt to hesitate fully attributing the work. That said a number of his pastel works are unsigned and are very varied stylistically.
The portrait depicts a young artist; he holds a drawing implement in one hand whilst his folio of drawings is clutched under his arm. Leaning on a mossy rock, and looking away from the viewer to the more distant landscape around, he is captured, briefly, as a sensitive youth at one with the thoughts and ideals of the Romantic Movement.