On the first page of Edgar Degas's sketchbook, Ludovic Halévy described the book in French: "All the drawings in this album are by Degas." On the side, he added a qualification noting that there are two or three by Ernest Reyer the composer. At the right he signed the book himself: "Ludovic Halévy 1877 and the years following." These inscriptions and those on the following pages allow scholars to accurately date the sketchbook to the year 1877.
Degas filled many sketchbooks during his lifetime; this is one of his largest of the thirty-eight that are known. It was also completed in the shortest length of time--approximately one year.