The Man with the Muck Rake
Paton's own inscription on the reverse of this painting confirms that this is a study for the large and final version, shown nearby, of the picture in the Ferens' collection: 'This is the first of two preliminary studies for the life size picture of the 'Man with the Muck Rake'. The second study - if I rightly recollect has a dark background and only one angel, as in the engraved picture. Noel Paton Nov 11 1889'. Paton had drawn subjects from Bunyan's The Pilgrims Progress soon after his return to Edinburgh in 1857. Before embarking upon the final version, he clearly reworked the subject of the 'Muck Rake' several times, making significant changes to its details until he was fully satisfied with the result; there is another version in the collection of Aberdeen Art Gallery.