Grimshaw painted many street scenes of towering birch trees stripped bare by the approaching winter surrounding large ancient houses. These mansions stand hauntingly silent, bathed in the mysterious shadows of evening cast by the light of silvery moons. The lone maid with her basket of provisions, wandering along the path beneath the moonlight, presents a romantic notion of servitude and Grimshaw's paintings rarely make a political statement. However he was not a high-born artist looking down upon workers without an understanding of the hardships of life. He lived in stylish and comfortable Knostrop Old Hall but his father had been a policeman and Grimshaw himself had known the drudgery of labour when he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway.
'The small house, The climbing street, the mill, the leafy lanes, The peacock-yew tree and the lonely Hall... The chill November dawns and dewy-glooming downs, The gentle shower, the smell of the dying leaves...' Lord Alfred Tennyson, Enoch Arden