After studying painting and drawing in Melbourne, in 1979 Peter Schipperheyn furthered his studies at the Academie di belle Arti Carrarra in Italy. There he began to learn the art of carving marble and embarked on a series of figurative works sculpted from statuario marble from the Carrara quarries. He returned to Australia in 1980, but continued his association with the Carrara sculptor community through frequent return visits.
In 1992 Schipperheyn was commissioned to produce this marble portrait of Sir Eric Westbrook by the Art Foundation of Victoria. As director of the NGV from 1956 to 1973, Westbrook oversaw the opening of new gallery premises on St Kilda Road.