Urban life and impoverished domestic scenes were a common subject for post-war artists, who recognised the importance of showing everyday situations and ‘real people’ in art. Eardley took her subject matter from the area surrounding her Glasgow studio, painting the children who played in the run-down streets. Although her paintings do not have a political or socialist agenda, they pick up on contemporary social themes by showing real individuals in their own surroundings of the city. While the children in this painting are from a poor, working-class area, the image is neither grim nor stereotypical. Instead, the use of vibrant colours suggests the children’s contentment, each absorbed in play.
Eardley repeatedly depicted the children who lived near her Townhead studio in Glasgow. Adult figures rarely appear in her work. Eardley loved the friendliness and community spirit of the area. She took photographs of street life and of children playing, but also worked from life drawings. The children would visit her studio as friends, to play with a box of toys she had, and she was then able to make sketches of them. Eardley's paintings were praised for their honest portrayal of working-class life in Glasgow.
Born in Sussex, Eardley moved to Glasgow at the outbreak of war. She studied at Glasgow School of Art and at Hospitalfield House under James Cowie. Cowie helped to shape her preference for everyday subjects. In 1949 Eardley rented a studio in the centre of Glasgow, and a few years later moved to Townhead, where the local street children were her preferred subjects. She bought a cottage in the small fishing village of Catterline, south of Aberdeen, in 1954. There, her favourite subjects were the village and sea, particularly in stormy weather. Eardley died of cancer in August 1963. Her ashes were scattered on the beach at Catterline.