Joan Eardley's paintings of the street children who lived near her studio in Glasgow are her most familiar works. This is an early example by Eardley, painted during her final year at Glasgow School of Art. Although the painting looks unfinished, it is thought that the artist intended this to be the final effect, so that it looked like a relic or an ancient fresco. Eardley admired Italian Renaissance artists such as Masaccio and Piero della Francesca for the humanity and sculptural qualities in their work. She saw fresco cycles by both these artists when she spent her scholarship year in Italy in 1948 to 1949.