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As a sculptor, Colton specialised in representations of female nudes, lovers and children. The finely-cut marble is used here to convey the pure essence of childhood. It also introduces a note of fancy with the figures resting on water, an idea which might have been suggested by Charles Kingsley’s novel The Waterbabies of 1863.

The unselfconscious postures of the children, especially the stance of the crouching boy, introduce a hint of realism into what is otherwise a subject of  tender affection.

August 2004