In 1885, when Rodin made this sculpture, he was demonstrating a renewed interest in the theme of maternity. Rodin had little contact with his first son (born 1866) by his long term mistress Rose Beuret. When he came to make this sculpture, he was in the full throes of a love affair with the young artist Camille Claudel. It has been plausibly suggested that she bore Rodin two children, which may account for his interest in the mother and child subject at this time. Rodin often produced a number of variations on a particular theme, and the figures in this work can be found in his other sculptures of the same period. This sculpture was bought from the artist’s studio around 1906 by Mrs Craig Sellar and was inherited by her son-in-law Sir Alexander Maitland, who bequeathed it to this gallery.