The theme of this picture had been replicated by other artists in the 19th century, most notably a portrait by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Wm. Holman Hunt R.A, titled Hark! (now lost) was described by Hunt in a letter to the French critic Ernest Chesneau, as ‘a portrait of a little girl with a watch to her ear’. The picture, oil on canvas, dimensions unknown, was exhibited at the RA in 1846 and is said to have been a portrait of Emily, his little sister when she was about 6 years of age. Emily died in 1922 aged 86. She kept the picture until her death when it was handed down to her sister, Anne Thurman. According to a descendant of Mrs. Thurman, the picture was later destroyed.
The simplistic title given to Hunt’s picture may conceal a hidden meaning behind the theme of the picture. One such analogy comes from the old proverb, Time and tide wait for no man, meaning the opportunities of life will pass you by if you delay or procrastinate in taking advantage of them.
The portrait and canvas are in excellent condition having had a light clean, the frame is also in very good condition with only a few minor signs of wear.