The original satirical lithograph is by John (HB) Doyle (1797-1868) and takes a swipe at the lack of a national education in England at the time, and the subsequent establishment of bodies like, 'The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge' (inscribed on the block the child is sat upon).
Founded in 1826 by Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778-1868), the aim of the society was to publish teaching resources for the use of working and middle class people who either had no formal education, or preferred to teach their children at home. The society was not a great success and came to an end in 1848.
The original lithograph shows Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) on the left, Lord Brougham in the middle, and Lord John Russell (1792-1878) as the child to the right, and was published on 25 February 1841. Talbot’s photograph of it must therefore have been made some time after that date.