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John Frederick Herring, 1795–1865


Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
41 13/16 x 73 3/16 inches (106.2 x 185.9 cm)

Signed and dated, lower center: "J.F. Herring 1857"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
cart | field | harvest | hay | hill | horses (animals) | labor | landscape | nursing | pastoral | peasants | plough | wagon
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Victorian representations of country life were often colored by nostalgia and an emphasis on the supposed physical and moral benefits of rustic simplicity. John Frederick Herring, a successful sporting artist, purchased a country estate in Kent in 1853, and this harvest landscape is almost certainly based on the stretch of countryside that he owned. Although this landscape reflects the Pre-Raphaelite enthusiasm for plein air study, Herring’s idyllic image ignores the agricultural improvements of the 1850. Instead, he represents traditional manual harvesting methods, as well as idealized workers and closely observed draft horses, rather than the farming machinery that was in wide use throughout England by the 1850s. Herring’s vision is one of stability, not change: healthy and contented laborers in the foreground, Herring’s manor house in the background, and the new squire, Herring himself, out riding with his dogs.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

The Noble Horse (Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, 1998-04-04 - 1998-05-28) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Ann Bermingham, Landscape and ideology, the English rustic tradition, 1740-1860 , Thames and Hudson, London, 1987, pp. 191-93, fig. 88, ND1354.4 B47 1987 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Robert Blake, The English world, history, character, and people : texts , Thames and Hudson, London, 1982, p. 213, DA110 E59 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 114-115, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Country pursuits: British, American, and French sporting art from the Mellon collections in the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts, , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Charlottesville, 2007, pp. 52-53, fig. 36, ND1383 G7 V57 2007 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867 : A Catalogue : The Paul Mellon Collection, , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 308-09, no. 333, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Robert Fountain, John Frederick Herring, Senior, 1795-1865, The British Sporting Art Trust, London Clifton, Virginia, 2002, no. 10, N8250 B751 [ORBIS]

Harvest, Apollo, February 1973, p. 5, N1 A54 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Lionel Lambourne, The noble horse, man and horse in Western art history 4 April-26 May, 1998, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum , Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc., Tokyo, 1998, pp. 81, 153, no. 40, pl. 40, N7668 H6 N6213 1998 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christiana Payne, Murillo-Like Rags or Clean Pinafores, Artistic and Social Preferences in the Representation of the Rural Poor , Textile History, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2002, pp. 48-62, HD9850.1 T48 (SML) [ORBIS]

Christiana Payne, Toil and plenty : images of the agricultural landscape in England, 1780-1890, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1993, pp. 60-1, 113-15, no. 29, pl. 17, ND1354.4 P39 1993 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Richard Green Advertisement, Apollo, v. 97, no. 132, February 1973, p. 5, N1 A54 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 49, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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