Mother Teaching Child is one of the few marble carvings Gilbert made in Rome, as he soon turned to modelling in clay to cast in bronze. He used his son Alfedo and his nurse as models. The group is partly based on an influential naturalistic sculpture of a mother and child made by the French sculptor Jules Dalou. Gilbert’s composition is also loosely based on Michelangelo and Raphael, linking past and present art. This sculpture was a private commission from Henry Doulton, owner of the Doulton Pottery, who visited Gilbert in Rome.