By not forcing the usual role models onto Lord Cavendish’s children, Thomas Lawrence was departing from the traditional children’s portrait. Although the patron was a high-ranking aristocratic officer, the boys are not made to pose as future generals, nor the little girl as a cultivated upper-class lady. On the contrary, they are seen in the wild, in the midst of play. Even if the scene has been arranged, each child exhibits the behaviour befitting his or her age and temperament – quite in keeping with the educational concepts of the Enlightenment.
Privy Councillor Adolf Haeuser made a fortune serving the Farbwerke Hoechst company as a legal advisor. As stipulated in their wills, after the deaths of Adolf Haeuser in 1938 and his wife, Luisa, in 1953, their property was distributed among several charitable foundations which were to be newly established, including the Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung for the cultivation of art and culture. This foundation has since acquired a number of paintings which are on loan to the Städel. The museum also received paintings from the Haeusers’ private estate.