Julius Stewart expatriated with his family from Philadelphia to Paris in 1865. As a youth, his entrée to the ateliers of the city’s most famous artists was eased by his father William Hood Stewart (1820-1892), a wealthy businessman who held one of the most important contemporary collections of the nineteenth century. While the younger Stewart first became a student of Eduardo Zamacoîs, his entrance to the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme was followed by study with Raimundo de Madrazo. This training, both academic and informal, would have a lasting influence on his style no matter how modern the subject of his paintings became. While many of Stewart’s works of the 1870s remain untraced, this portrait evidences his affinity for the detailed, naturalistic rendering of his sitters. Dressed in the heavy body armor of a cavalry member of the French cuirassiers, it is possible that this portrait is a tribute to a soldier lost in battle. Such portraits made up a significant part of the artist's production of the 1870's and anticipated a lifelong interest in painting his wide circle of influential family and friends.