About this artwork

The subject of this picture appears to be unimportant, but it is a familiar one, used by painters of previous centuries to show young girls at work in the country. It is one we associate with old folktales too. The two girls are the innocent and vulnerable children, who experience the dangers of life on the edge of poverty. They are the real-life equivalents of the fairytale woodcutter's daughter or Little Red Riding Hood.