Frith met John Gibbons in 1843 admiring his paintings, The Vicar of Wakefield and a scene from Sterne's Sentimental Journey, at an exhibition in Birmingham. Gibbons wrote to the artist 'Sir, There is a picture of yours in the Birmingham Exhibition that pleased me exceedingly, and I should have purchased it at once had I not been anticipated by a more fortunate man. I allude to the scene from the 'Vicar of Wakefield'...Could you hit upon another subject from the same delightful tale that would serve as a companion? Have you anything of a similar character in hand?', and then '...If so, you may set about one for me - something like the scene from the 'Sentimental Journey' will do' (W.P. Frith, Further Reminiscences, London, 1888, pp. 197-8). Gibbons acquired four works by Frith for his collection including the present painting. Another smaller version of the painting is in the collection of the Laurence Sterne Trust (1853, oil on canvas, 8 ½ x 6 ¾ in.).