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David Gilmour Blythe
Boy Playing Marbles
about 1858
oil
22 x 26 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum



This pudgy-cheeked youngster has his target in sight and is just about to shoot. His tattered clothing and idle activity, however, identify him as a vagabond who roamed city streets with little or no parental guidance. For many in the nineteenth century, vagabond children were the epitome of moral neglect.