Wilkie visited Sir Walter Scott and his family at their country home of Abbotsford in 1817. Scott is seated as though he is about to relate a story to the gathering of family and friends. Wilkie commented on the 'good humour and merriment' of everyone in the party. He exercised artistic licence, depicting Scott's daughters as bare footed country milkmaids, but also included a realistic portrayal of Scott's highland dog, a present from the Laird of Glengary. The landscape background recalls the Tweed Valley, with a distant view of Melrose. Painted on panel the picture has the character of an oil sketch.