The Berger Collection


Benjamin West, PRA (1738-1820)
Harvesting at Windsor, 1795
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated, 1795
20 x 27 1/4 in. (50.8 x 69 cm)

Benjamin West painted this picture from a series of sketches he made near Windsor Castle in 1795. The principal residence of the British monarch, the castle is visible on the distant horizon. The true subject of the painting, however, is the lively group engaged in harvesting wheat, the amorous couple in the foreground, and the elegant onlookers in the right middle ground. West’s depiction recalls two venerable traditions: the Labors of the Months from medieval Books of Hours and the pastoral landscapes of sixteenth-century Venice.

The painting remained in West’s studio until his death and was sold by his sons in a major studio sale of their father’s paintings in 1829. In the catalogue of the sale it was revealed that the group in the right middle ground are friends of the artist and may include a self-portrait in the figure at the extreme right.


Provenance

Studio of the artist; his sons Raphael and Benjamin West; their sale, Robins, London, May 22-25, 1829, lot 64; from which acquired by Mr. Dolman; with Frost and Reed, Bristol, U.K.,1956; M. Bernard, London; with Newhouse Galleries, New York, 1960; from which acquired by Thomas Mellon Evans, 1960; his sale, Christie’s, New York, May 22, 1998, lot 42.

Bibliography

Literature (selected): "A Correct Catalogue of the Works of Mr. West," Public Characters of 1805, 1805, p. 567; "A Correct List of the Works of Mr. West," Universal Magazine, III, 1805, p. 531; J. Galt, "A Catalogue of the Works of Mr. West," The Life, Studies and Works of Benjamin West Esq., President of the Royal Academy of London, 1820, p. 230

Exhibited: Newman Street, London, West's Gallery, 1822-1829, no. 17; Royal Academy, London, 1967, no. 157


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