This painting is both realistic and symbolic. It depicys an actual scene near Chiddingfold in Surrey with the detail closely observed in a way that greatly pleased Ruskin. But the figures, reading from right to left represent the different ages of 'man' and the RA catalogue included these lines from Tennyson's 'The Brook'
And out again I curve and flow To join the brimming river; For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.
Hook was mainly known for his seascapes.
[Luff, Boy!] 1858
Painted after his visits to Clovelly in North Devon. Hook painted a Pre Raphaelite naturalism in the 1850's.