Haydon cut a controversial and complicated figure in both his public and private life. He maintained a lifelong feud with the Royal Academy and was continually dogged by financial problems, partly because his father withdrew financial support, but also owing to his own working methods. He preferred to paint large historical pictures, then considered the highest form of art, which took years to complete. Christ's Entry into Jerusalem for which the present work is a study, occupied him for six years. It was while he was painting this work that he became a significant witness to the lives of many of the key writers of his time, among them Keats, Shelley and Wordsworth, (whose celebrated portrait of him musing on Helvellyn by Haydon is in the National Portrait Gallery and whose portrait study for the head of Christ in Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, 1815, and now in Dove Cottage, Grasmere, was sold in these Rooms, 9 November 1993, lot 84).