A vibrant, freely painted outdoor setting forms the backdrop for what looks to be a mother and son enjoying a restful day out. The wooded scene suggests that the work was painted in or inspired by the countryside near Great Batchelor Farm, a small property in Kent (England) that the artist and his wife purchased in the late 1910s to be near their daughter Kitty and her family. By this time, Shannon had become confined to a wheelchair because of the gradual onset of paralysis resulting from a riding accident that occurred perhaps as early as 1914. Increasingly unable to withstand the physical stress of painting large canvases, the artist shifted his attention to creating more intimately scaled works that did not entail the pressures of dealing with clients.
The setting for our picture can be seen in one other painting titled, The Tea Party, (see photo). Painted circa 1921, signed lower right: ‘J.J. Shannon’. The Tea Party was exhibited at the Leicester Galleries, London, in 1923, shortly after Shannon’s death.