Whitley identified this as a drapery study for the upper part of Gower in the painting 'Wycliffe reading his Translation of the Bible' (1848, oil on canvas, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford).
However, in that composition Gower's costume is very different and his hands are clasped, with his forefingers pointing downwards, not resting on his knee as in this study. Also Gower's right arm is hidden by the figure of Chaucer making such a detailed study for the drapery of his right arm redundant. This study is almost certainly for the ill-tempered courtier sitting next to the bearded old man on the far left in 'Chaucer at the Court of Edward III' (1851, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney). The hands are in the same pose, resting on a raised knee, and although the buttons in the final version are at the front, this is a study of the same costume with the buttons moved to the side. This identification is confirmed by an earlier sheet of eight studies dated 1845 (1906P766) which includes sketches of an elderly, bearded man with a wreath of leaves, wearing the same cloak, and in the same position.