The present, carefully rendered life drawing, made in black and red chalk, shows a single male figure posed face down.
The complex foreshortening offering an ideal example for Mortimer, ambitious to become a history painter. In 1769 Mortimer was appointed a director of the Maiden Lane Academy by the Society of Artists and was required to set the life model along with Ozias Humphry, Robert Edge Pine, George Stubbs, Joseph Wright and Johan Zoffany. According to the Minutes of the Society of Artists, Mortimer was required: ‘to wait upon Dr [William] Hunter and… desire the favour of him to dissect a human figure for the use of the Academy.’ This beautifully rendered life study was almost certainly made by Mortimer at this date, when he was working in the Maiden Lane Academy. Although on a smaller scale than Mortimer’s other surviving life studies, the drawing shows the ambition of the short-lived enterprise.