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Steer often painted children, showing them either in domestic interiors or playing outdoors on the beach at Walberswick in Suffolk.

This girl admiring the pages of a picture book is Rose Pettigrew, who modelled for Steer for eight years. She wrote: ‘I love posing for Philip; and first of all posed for little money as I thought he was very poor, and child as I was, wanted to help him’. Her vulnerable position as a young girl, however, is borne out by hard wooden chair she sits on and her sparse surroundings.

July 2004