And when did you last see your father?

William Frederick Yeames1878

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Liverpool, United Kingdom

This scene is set in a Royalist manor house during the English Civil War. A young boy is being questioned as to the whereabouts of his father. His mother and sisters listen anxiously, fearful that he may inadvertently betray his father. The innocence of the boy - which adds to the tension and drama of the scene is suggested by his blonde hair, tiny stature and the pretty blue suit that he is wearing. Yeames was apparently given the idea for this painting when a nephew of “innocent and truthful disposition” was staying at his house. The painting became enormously popular with the public owing to its vivid portrayal of a dramatic story.


  • Title: And when did you last see your father?
  • Creator: William Frederick Yeames
  • Creator Lifespan: 1835/1918
  • Creator Nationality: British
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Teignmouth, Devon , England
  • Creator Birth Place: Taganrog, Russia
  • Date Created: 1878
  • tag / style: William Frederick Yeames; Royalist; Civil War; Father; children; soldiers; history; narrative; St John's Wood Clique
  • Physical Dimensions: w2515 x h1310 cm (without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: William Frederick Yeames was a member of the St John's Wood Clique. This group of artists painted historical and narrative paintings which, although popular with the public, were never critically acclaimed. Yeames and his contemporaries struggled to get work shown at the Royal Academy because of this. Neither did they lead bohemian lifestyles like many other artists of the time. Yeames lived comfortably in a large house in St John's Wood, London. He enjoyed playing tennis in the private courts of other clique members. He also holidayed at Hever Castle, home of Anne Boleyn - second wife of Henry VIII and mother to Queen Elizabeth I. The castle's Tudor architecture was used as a backdrop for many of his paintings.
  • Additional artwork information: To take a closer look at this painting and the story behind it please follow this link to our online feature: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/andwhendidyoulastseeyourfather/
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Purchased in 1878

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