By 1907 Vuillard had grown tired of his residence on the rue de la Tour in the haute-bourgeois Passy quarter in Paris. Early in 1908 he and his mother moved to 26, rue de Calais in the more modest Batignolles district, and remained there for the next twenty years. They lived at first in an apartment on the fourth floor, and in October 1908 they moved downstairs to the second story. The apartments overlooked the Place Vintimille (now the Place Adolphe-Max) with its oval-shaped park, Le Square Berlioz, named in 1905 for the 19th century composer who had resided at 4, rue de Calais. From his window Vuillard executed numerous studies and paintings of the park. The most well-known are the five-panel screen La place Vintimille which he painted for his American friend Marguerite Chapin in 1911 (Salomon and Cogeval, no. IX-165; coll. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), and the large view of the square and surrounding streets being repaved, Le Square Berlioz, 1915-1923 (Salomon and Cogeval, no. X-102; coll. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). The park's kiosk, which displayed posters, newspapers and announcements, is visible to the left of the tree in the present picture.
It may appear ironic that Vuillard would chose to live in a mixed middle class neighborhood when his circle of friends were mainly well-to-do members of the leisure, arts-oriented upper class. Vuillard enjoyed the livelier streets and more varied architecture of the Batignolles neighborhood, and was fond of observing the people of varied backgrounds who frequented the park. In the present painting a mother or nanny sits on the left-hand bench as a young child holding a hoop stands beside her, and the red outfit of another child contrasts with the drab every day attire of the women sitting on the bench at right. These are the types of lower middle-class working people that Vuillard grew up among and who once worked for his mother in her small corset-making business. The artist would never completely sever the emotional ties to his humble, hard-working family background.