Peel combined illustrative realism with a powerful
command of form and structure that is often reminiscent of both Corot and
Courbet. His feeling for the quality of light was also extremely sensitive,
though his choice of a since discredited area of anecdotal genre painting
may still perhaps militate against a fair appreciation of his true qualities.
The artist's remarkable versatility is demonstrated with this lively transcription
of a painting by the popular Charles Chaplin (1825-1891). Peel was ready
to turn his brush to a variety of themes and styles, doubtless in a desperate
attempt to find one that would strike a responsive chord with the public.
The subject here would appear to be the quintessence of superficial frivolity,
but Peel in his version succeeds in transforming it into a jeu d'esprit
of genuine warmth and charm.
Notes courtesy of M. Greenwood, Curator of Art,
Art Gallery of York University from the catalogue to the exhibition, Another
World: Salon and Academy Paintings c. 1805 - 1925 where this work was