Benjamin West famously described Thomas Barker's portfolio on a visit to Bath as '..stored with subjects of Peasantry &c... for truth of expression, excellent, unrivalled' (J. Farington, Diary, vol. VIII, 10 November 1807). Thomas Barker was well known for producing scenes taken from everyday life, and in 1813 produced 'Forty Lithographic Impressions ... selected from his Studies of Rustic Figures after Nature'.
The present works appear to depict scenes taken from William Cowper's The Task (1785), with love-sick 'Crazy Kate', a servant girl obsessed with the lover who deserted her, akin to Maria, from Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768). Another painting of 'Crazy Kate' by Barker of Bath, previously in the collection of the Earl of Dunraven, can be found in the York City Art Gallery. Notably, the subject of 'Crazy Kate' attracted other artists of the period, including Fuseli and Shepheard, and was expounded as a popular theme in numerous magazines and miscellanies of the 1790s.