Manchester Art Gallery

The Bather 'At the Doubtful Breeze Alarmed'

Object description

Study of a nude woman as she bathes in a river, based upon the poem 'The Seasons' by James Thomson. The woman stands up to her thighs in the water with one arm holding onto a branch on the bank to the right. Her head is turned away from the viewer as she looks further down the river. The scene is surrounded by dense trees in shades of brown and green, and the sky above is cloudy and blue.

Display label

Musidora: The Bather 'At the Doubtful Breeze Alarmed' after 1843 William Etty 1787-1849 Oil on canvas Musidora is a character from James Thomson's The Seasons, a four volume poem published in 1730 which retained its popularity well into the 1800s. Here, we are invited to take the viewpoint of Damon, another character from The Seasons, who stumbles upon Musidora as she bathes in a stream. This scene was a well established pretext for painting the female nude. It was repeated by Etty in numerous versions. This example came from the collection of James Gresham, a successful Manchester engineer. James Gresham bequest 1917.261