The image of a seated adult with children
or youths reading occurs in a number
of Blake's works from the 1780s, including
the title page to Songs of Innocence.
It has been suggested that the leaf and tendril motif on the dress of the youth
in the foreground (who seems to be drawing) identifies him as representative of a mind limited to nature and its imitation. The old man might represent the law, which
is contradicted by the girl who, gesturing heavenwards towards the infinite, might represent imagination.