©Board of Trustees of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (Walker Art Gallery,

And When Did You Last See Your Father?

William Frederick Yeames (1835-1918)

The scene is set in a Royalist manor house during the Civil War. A young boy is being questioned by Roundheads as to the whereabouts of his father. His mother and sisters listen anxiously, fearful that he may inadvertently betray his father. The innocence of the boy - which adds to the tension and drama of the scene - is suggested by his blonde hair, tiny stature and the pretty blue suit that he is wearing. Yeames was given the idea for this painting when a nephew of 'innocent and truthful disposition' was staying at his house. The work became enormously popular with the public, who liked a painting which told a good story.

Oil on canvas, painted 1878

Purchased from the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition 1878 (No. 2679)