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A sailor is shown returning home to his family standing outside a cottage. He is embracing his wife while a boy hugs his father's right arm. A smaller boy on the far left holds his stick and his father's right hand, and carries his bundle. On the right a young girl holds a small child in her arms. In the background the domesticity of the setting is implied by the jug resting on the window-sill of the cottage on the right. The theme of a war hero's return to home and hearth is emphasised by the sensibility and Englishness of the landscape setting.
An engraving from this picture was one of a set of four similar upright-format prints after Stothard issued as a set on the same date (16 April 1798), the other three showing 'Sailors in a Fight', 'Sailors in a Storm' and 'Sailors in Port'. The print of this subject shows some firming up and could be from a more finished, less sketchy, version. None is known, however, and it is possible that the image only reached its final level of finish in the engraved form.
oil on canvas
H 56.8 x W 43.7 cm