A versatile talent, noted for painting a variety of subjects in
differing styles, Hacker submitted his Diploma work, A Wet Night at
Piccadilly Circus in the year this picture was exhibited at the
Royal Academy. Critics discerned Turneresque and Impressionist
qualities in his Diploma picture. In Couch Burners, the debt is
surely to Jean-Francois Millet and the Barbizon School: the composition and tonality echo Millet's The Angelus (Musée d'Orsay). The burning of couch grass was also treated by other artists of the period such as Alexander Mann (1902, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).