Desboutin was a proud father and this is one of a number of studies of babies, children and mother and child scenes that he produced. It is likely that the woman is Desboutin’s second wife, by whom he had three surviving children. Desboutin was familiar with the cruel conditions suffered by the poor. He had squandered much of the family money before the death of his first wife and he was forced to eke out a living for himself and his children in Paris. This dark and sombre scene reveals his awareness of the work of the Dutch realist painters of the seventeenth century.