Rudolph Swoboda had sailed for India on 7 October 1886. Queen Victoria paid for his passage and gave him £300 to cover his travelling expenses. In return he was to provide the Queen with sketches worth £300. The Queen gave Swoboda specific instructions: ‘The Sketches Her Majesty wishes to have – are of the various types of the different nationalities. They should consist of heads of the same size as those already done for The Queen, and also small full lengths, as well as sketches of landscapes, buildings, and other scenes. Her Majesty does not want any large pictures done at first, but thinks that perhaps you could bring away material for making them should they eventually be wished for.’ In addition to many portraits, also in the Royal Collection, Swoboda painted this picture of a group of children and an old man waiting at the barrier beside a railway line.
The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1892.
Signed: Rudolf L. Swoboda. On the back of the frame is a label in the artist’s hand giving an alternative title: ‘Waiting for the Train … Madras’.
Purchased by Queen Victoria