Sudama was a childhood friend of Krishna. Sudama later fell on hard times as can be seen in the depiction here of his hovel with the cow dung cakes drying outside, the broken spinning wheel in the courtyard and the holes in the thatched roof above them. Sudama resists the idea of asking Krishna for help and covers his ears as his wife Sushila berates him.
A closely related earlier depiction of this same scene is attributed by W. G. Archer to Garhwal circa 1775-90, (W. G. Archer, Indian Paintings of the Punjab Hills, 1973, vol. I, no.7(i), p.80). The dark blue sky and the angular architecture in the background found in our painting confirm that it fits within the style of the Garhwal school.