Many families left Britain during the 1840s and 1850s, forced to seek their fortune elsewhere by hardship and economic depression. Redgrave was one of several artists who recorded the plight of such emigrants. This picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859 accompanied by lines from Oliver Goldsmith's poem 'The Traveller'. This begins: 'Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore, Her useful sons exchanged for useless ore?'. The village that the family prepare to leave is that of Abinger in Surrey, where Redgrave owned a cottage.