In this dramatic image Stock has taken the story of Cain and Abel and used it as an allegory for the struggles of the First World War.
'... if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.' Genesis 4:7
Stock has chosen to represent the moment Cain wrestles with sin before it finally defeats him and he then murders his brother. Above them the watching angels try to help Cain overcome his desires. This can be read as the Kaiser, or Germany, struggling with the desire to enter into a conflict with their brothers in Europe, or perhaps more specifically England. After the horrors of the Battle of the Somme and continuing trench warfare, feeling in England was beginning to turn against the ongoing war, and Stock's watercolour demonstrates this growing sense of anger and frustration.
Henry John Stock, although a relatively unknown artist, was a highly talented painter who had a fondness for depicting imaginative workings of biblical and poetic subjects in the English Romantic tradition.