Betts conveniently dated this one November 9 (or 4), 1897, and he most likely made it in Pyle’s Life Class Studying from the Draped and Costumed Model (a.k.a. “Draped Model Class” or “Class in Draped Model” and so on) since it contains no “setting” per se. As Pyle said in the Drexel course catalogue:
In this class, departing essentially from the ordinary work of academic schools in studying from the living figure, the model is costumed and posed in some suggestive action, and the student is instructed to draw the figure that it may be introduced into a picture.Or, as he put it another (yet, perhaps still convoluted) way:
The purpose here is to instruct the student in the necessary technical methods to be used in representing the draped human figure. The processes required to properly draw the draped figure are so different from those demanded in the rendition of other kinds of academic work that it has been found necessary to require proficiency in this before advancing the student to the final branch of instruction.Although Pyle did not pick Betts’ study for the second annual School of Illustration show in the spring of 1898, another student, Cornelia Greenhough, exhibited “The Cavalier, 1650,” which may have come from the same pose. (Betts' “Colonial Figure, 1740” was shown, however, as well as his “Peace and War,” “Study of a Head - Emperor,” and “The Highwayman.”)
And now here’s something representative of “the final branch of instruction” - i.e. the Illustration Class:
Although this one is not titled, I would call it “The Priest and the Piper.” Why? Because two other Pyle students, Sarah S. Stilwell and Bertha Corson Day, exhibited pictures of that name in the May 1899 student show at Drexel and Pyle (who I’m sure wrote the text of the catalogue) said:
The subject was painted as class work with the purpose of having one of the pictures used in Harper’s Weekly [sic] Hallowe’-en number. Of all the class work, the best two examples were chosen. The above two were submitted to Harper’s Weekly, and the drawing by Miss Stilwell was selected as being the most available for publication.Now, compare Betts’ with Stilwell’s picture, which was published in Harper's Bazar (not Harper's Weekly) for November 5, 1898. There it’s called “A Vision on All-Hallows Eve” and it illustrates a playlet by Pyle himself, titled “The Priest and the Piper: A Halloween Fantasy”...
“A Vision on All-Hallows Eve” by Sarah S. Stilwell (1898)
And while we’re on the topic, the Brandywine River Museum has a painting by Caroline Louise Gussmann, which may have been born out of the same knock-kneed piper pose. (In fact, there may well be a score of similar images out there - and the same goes for Betts’ cavalier picture.)
“Tipsy Piper” by Caroline Louise Gussmann
This next and last one is dated November 1898, which may have been after Betts left Drexel. But the Pyle influence is still very much in evidence - and since one of Betts’ compositions was exhibited in the May 1899 show, perhaps he studied with Pyle for a while after the summer session of 1898. This looks less like a class piece than a bona fide illustration, though I have yet to identify if, when, or where it was published.
And in case you’re inclined to learn more about these or see several other works by Betts, please look here.
Would that I could snag them myself!