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In this intimate mother-daughter scene, Leighton has used soft colours and a square shaped canvas to emphasise the closeness and love between the characters. By leaving very little room between the figures and the edge of the canvas, the viewer’s attention is focussed on the mother and child, and the strength of their bond. The architecture and fabrics seen in the painting are likely influenced by the artist’s visit to Damascus in 1873. The child is being taught by her mother to play the ‘saz’, a long-necked lute popular in Turkey, Armenia and parts of Syria. The mother guides the child’s hand and wraps her arm around her to control the pegs of the instrument. The colour scheme is muted but warm, using peach, purple, and blue tones which recall the heat of an exotic past. The outfits (and bare ankles of the mother) place the scene firmly in a romanticised version of times gone by. Leighton is famous for his depictions of Classical scenes, influenced by Greek and Roman tales which were hugely popular in Victorian Britain.