Interior with Figures
Francis Wheatley studied at the William Shipley Academy in London and also at the Royal Academy Schools and Society of Artists where he won prizes for drawing. Wheatley was abroad in 1763, most likely in Western Europe. In 1779 he fled to Ireland to escape creditors, where he received commissions from aristocratic Irish families for large group portraits and informal conversation pieces. He returned to London at the end of 1783 and throughout the 1780s and early 1790s was engaged in producing a variety of compositions to be engraved: these included scenes from literature and contemporary poetry as well as fancy pictures of idealised everyday scenes, often showing children. The watercolour here is a good example of this, and Wheatley produced similar scenes titled 'The Father's Return' or 'The Soldier's Return'.