Studying in France, Reid learned to work out the general composition in an oil sketch, where he would determine the placement of the figures in the narrative and the play of lights and darks - the "effect." He often then made finished studies of details before commencing the larger painting. "The Foreclosure of the Mortgage" was immensely popular, winning a bronze medal at the "Columbian Exposition" in Chicago in 1893, but was burned in a fire in London, England, in 1918. Reid borrowed this sketch from Robert Burns Bond to repaint the canvas in 1934. That work is now in the Government of Ontario Art Collection.