The two impromptu studies on this sheet are the first ideas for a small oil painting which Mulready painted in 1828. Mulready's ward Mary Leckie, who might have been his daughter by Mrs Leckie, is shown with Mrs Leckie's husband James. Mulready was famous as a painter of genre pictures or 'scenes from familiar life'. Among artist colleagues he was known as a superb draughtsman. Drawing was, in fact, a compulsive activity for him and this energetic sketch of a minor domestic incident conveys a strong sense of the artist's need to record what went on around him.
Gallery label, September 2004
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