During 1947 while Eardley was at Hospitalfield School of Art she came into contact with James Cowie, who may have influenced the younger artist in his choice of subject matter drawn from actual experience. A comparison can be drawn between Cowie's depiction of Bellshill schoolchildren and Eardley's 1950s series of paintings of the young inhabitants of Townhead (see also lot 184).
The artist's favourite models were the Samson family. 'There is a large number of Samsons, twelve at the moment, so I have always had a certain number of children from this family of any age when I chose to need. This particular family of Samsons move me. They hardly notice me when they come in. They are full of what they have been doing. Who has gone to jail today. Who has broken into what shop. Who flung a pie into whose face, and so it goes on and on. They are letting out their life ... For me they are Glasgow' (see W. Buchanan, Joan Eardley, Edinburgh, 1976, p. 36).