This scene is set in the White Hart Tavern in Aylesbury, as a poster on the tavern wall indicates. Through the window of the tavern, the Market Square can be seen in the distance. Inside the building, used frequently as a public meeting place during the 19th century, local people have gathered to appeal against their income tax demands. Changes to the tax laws led to widespread discontent and in 1861, the year this work was painted, a Government Select Committee reported on the findings of an inquiry into the mode of assessing and collecting income and property tax.
John Morgan was born in London. He studied at the Royal Academy School of Design, before working as a frame maker. He went on to become a genre painter, particularly renowned for painting of children, and exhibited 223 works in London between 1852 and 1886. By 1860 he was living in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where he remained until the mid-1860s. He was in Edinburgh in 1866, in Leighton Buzzard by 1867 and had returned to London by 1870, briefly settling in Kensington. By 1871 he had moved to Guildford, from where he painted Surrey landscapes. He married twice and had five children. His eldest son, Frederick, also became a painter. In 1875 Morgan travelled to the Holy Land. He moved to Hastings in 1882, where he died three years later.
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