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This drawing was made by the precocious young Millais more than five years before he was to become involved in the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. There is an element of drama which anticipates other subjects by Millais which were chosen to illustrate novels and poetry, most notably the writings of Trollope and Tennyson. It is unclear whether this image is a scene from contemporary literature or whether, in the manner of pictures by popular genre artists, it simply shows the everyday business of Victorian life.

August 2004