This is a smaller version of a composition Wilkie painted in 1814 (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum). The replica was made for George Thomson, who originally commissioned Robert Burns to write the words of the song Duncan Gray. Burns describes how Duncan, coming to woo, is at first rejected by Maggie, until growing angry he decides to abandon his suit. At this point Maggie relents, and, in the final verse the lovers are ‘crouse and canty baith’. The artist Mulready is said to have posed for Duncan in the first version of the painting, and Wilkie's own sister and mother for Maggie and her mother.