Jones made this sketch in the mid- to late-1630s, in connection with his work for Queen Henrietta Maria for whom he was designing interiors at Oatlands Palace in Surrey, at Somerset House and at the Queen's House in Greenwich. Henrietta Maria followed the examples of her mother, Marie de Medici, and of James I's queen, Ann of Denmark, in using cultural patronage to shape her authority as Queen. The Queen's palaces were Jones's main focus as a Surveyor of the King's Works under Charles I and from 1631 he received a separate salary of £20 as the Queen's surveyor.
Jones designed numerous chimney-pieces for Henrietta Maria, and this study is probably of a painting from the Queen's collection that would have been placed above the fire surround in a highly ornamental overmantel frame in one of her palaces. The fact that Jones has only sketched the painting, and not the surrounding decoration, indicates that the Queen had freedom to decide which paintings were displayed in these interiors. In several of Jones's overmantel designs, the space where the painting would appear is left blank, so that the Queen could temporarily position sketches such as the present drawing there, to help her choose what painting to hang.
The free pen style of several datable masque drawings helps to date this sketch; by the end of the 1630s, Jones's penwork had become heavier. A date c. 1637 is most likely on stylistic grounds, which was also the date of Jones's surviving chimney-piece designs for the Queen.