Music Versus Work

WAG 2005.40


The boy’s clothes show that he is a servant. He has put aside his sweeping brush to play on a tin whistle. When the picture was shown in London’s Royal Academy in 1864 it brought a smile to the face of one art critic who wrote, ‘We are always glad when it is possible to steal a laugh within the solemn propriety of the walls of the Academy.’ Worrall was one of the Liverpool followers of the Pre-Raphaelites. He painted scenes of ordinary Victorian life, as seen in this painting, with a delicate touch and minute attention to detail.