Technique and condition
The painting consists of one piece of plain weave linen canvas. It appears to have been commercially prepared with a white oil ground prior to stretching. The ground is thinly and evenly applied and the canvas texture remains visible. There is a thinly painted background, in a neutral palette of greys and browns. The brushstrokes are bold and brushy, predominantly in a horizontal orientation, with the paler areas behind the boys in a contrasting vertical direction. The thinly painted background maintains the texture of canvas weave. The sketchy brushstrokes leave areas of ground visible in places. The image appears to have been planned on the canvas and the design laid out with thin black brushed lines. The image is painted wet in wet, with some impasto, introducing bold accents of red and green into the muted background. The artist employs a bold brushy technique painting alla prima. The painting has an opaque, matt finish with no gloss or glazing. It is unvarnished.
The painting is in good condition although it has been restored after a tear. The ground is quite brittle and there are numerous areas of cracking. The tear is mended with a patch on the reverse and has been retouched. A rectangular area corresponding to the patch is visible from the front. There is a significant layer of dust on the surface. The tension is satisfactory if not tight.