This watercolour is a version of the wood-engraved illustration, executed by Joseph Swain, that accompanied the story The Anglers of the Dove by Harriet Martineau (1882-76) and appeared alongside the text in the 19 July 1862 edition of Once a Week. A label, signed by Millais, once on the back of the picture frame describes the scene as follows:
A winter scene in a Farm house on the border of Needwood (?) Forest. Polly's mother had brought in some half perished ewes and lambs, which the warmth had revived and made to bleat which woke her sick child. The mother remarks 'they had made her neglect her own dear lamb and she leant over the crib on which lay her sick child quietly crying because the noise prevented him from sleeping'.