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For Wilkie the remarks may have confirmed the suitability of his pursuing a theme, which while it touched on economic life did nevertheless manage to avoid the controversies that had previously surrounded the Distraining.
While avoiding Hogarth's broad comedy, as well as the offensive gloominess of the Distraining, and extending beyond a mere display of his technical skills in rendering detail, here was a fateful moralizing theme that touched on economic issues, social class and offered a wide range of reactive emotions, humor included.
Their most immediate introduction to his work, as already noted, came from engravings and with local variations there followed painted versions of such subjects as Dorfpolitickers, Der blinde Geiger, and with the availability of Raimbach's 1828 Distraining print, Die Pfanderung.
Writing June 6, 1815, to Samuel Dobree, who had previously had The Letter of Introduction, he notes that the Distraining, the only work he had recently been engaged upon, would be an unsuitable acquisition, "being neither a small nor a humorous subject"; Life of Wilkie 1: 437.
It has been noted that the scene also may have been provoked by Wilkie's own brief experience with an unwarranted distraining during the course of his 1812 solo show, when his paintings were seized for an unpaid debt of the landlord: Memoirs of Raimbach 113; and Whitley, Art in England 198.