Linnell claimed that this work was ‘truer to Nature than most pictures’. However, he had been a friend of the visionary artists William Blake and Samuel Palmer, and there may be a more visionary quality to this scene. The theme of rural labourers at rest was familiar, but the glowing light and curious rhythms combine to create a quite original sense of monumentality.
Linnell’s poetic visions of the countryside, far detached from the sometimes harsh realities of rural life, were much sought-after by collectors. This painting is a replica, by the artist, of a work he had sold in 1862.