George Morland

Cowherd and Milkmaid

1792

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Frame: 722 x 873 x 94 mm
support: 508 x 660 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by George Salting 1910
Reference
N02640

Display caption

This simple scene of rustic folk at a farmstead is characteristic of much of Morland's work in its portrayal of an incident from contemporary life. He captures the fleeting moment when the milkmaid enters the pen and exchanges a friendly greeting with the cowherd.
Morland achieved immense success with his picturesque scenes of everyday rural life. His subjects were inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch masters who had established the tradition of rustic genre. The influence of Gainsborough's pastoral landscapes is also apparent although Morland's are more naturalistic and give the impression that they are direct reflections of the lives of country people at the end of the eighteenth century.

Gallery label, August 2004