John Morgan specialised in rural genre and was particularly proficient at painting children. His son, Frederick Morgan, was also an artist (see lots 74 and 77).
Morgan undertook a few versions of this subject; the first was exhibited at the British Institute in 1860, the second was shown at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1868. This would be a contender for the present lot were it not for Morgan's diary which lists it under 'Spring 1866' (rather than 1865), whilst the artist was staying near Banbury in Oxfordshire: '...I took some apart'ts [sic] in Parsons Street at the home of Miss Bromich & began to paint 2 pictures at Boddicott, one "Hide & Seek", the other "In Trouble"' (Diary, p. 12).
The Morgans lived at The Villas, New Road, Aylesbury. The model for the grandfather was Robert Gibbs, the local auctioneer. The model for the boy on the far left reappears as the main protagonist in The Fight (1869; see The Forbes Collection of Victorian Pictures & Works of Art, Christie's, London, 19-20 February 2003, lot 10, £100,000).
Other similarly themed pictures include Peep of 1871 and Don't Look Yet of 1884.
We are grateful to Terry Parker for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.