Historic Painting: “Harvest Rest” by George Cole, 1865.

I love this painting, too, but having tried haying using a scythe I can you it’s back-breaking and hot work at the height of summer! It looks pretty in paintings though.


harvest rest by george cole pd

This painting couldn’t be simpler, but it’s beautiful and I love it. It’s a family sitting in the shade in a field of ripe grain; one of the women is holding a baby. The man has put down his scythe, presumably after reaping and bundling the grain in the center, to enjoy this pastoral moment. This picture is called simply Harvest Rest and it was painted in 1865 by George Cole, an English landscape painter. Though the 1860s was a little early for impressionism, there is definitely an impressionist vibe to this work. The brush strokes are very precise and the subjects reminiscent of many impressionist themes later in the century. Yet I also see a continuity here with previous styles, especially other English landscapers like J.M.W. Turner. There’s just so much to see in a picture like this.

George Cole was a bit unusual among mid-19th century painters in…

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