The Hop Pickers, 1855
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated at lower right, J.F. Herring. Senr / 1855
38 x 28 in. (91.4 x 71.1 cm)
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In 1853, after a successful career painting racing and coaching scenes, John Frederick Herring, Sr., moved to rural Kent to concentrate on producing scenes of country life. Kent, in southwestern England, is the country’s hop-growing center, and Herring represents in this picture a group of people picking the ripe flowers of the hop plant, which are dried and used in brewing to flavor beer. In the nineteenth century, people would come from nearby towns to spend a day picking hops with their friends. Herring has idealized his figures, who are dressed in clothes more appropriate for a leisurely day in the country than for manual labor.
With Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; Frederick J. Haas, Washington, D.C.; by descent; Christie’s, London, July 11, 1997, lot 30
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