This moralising genre scene is typical of Morland’s work of the 1780s. His aim of highlighting the moral shortcomings of domestic life shows the influence of William Hogarth (1697-1764). A notoriously heavy drinker and debtor, Morland spent the final years of his life enduring intermittent bouts in prison and eventually died from alcoholism aged 41. Morland’s flamboyant lifestyle became the subject of four anecdotal biographies immediately after his death. This painting is paired with ‘The Miseries of Idleness’, also in the collection. This painting is paired with ‘The Comforts of Industry’ (NG 1835), also in the collection.