Scottish winter landscape scene, showing a large cart laden with felled timber. Birnam Hill is in the background. The cart occupies the foreground, its wheels at the left of the composition and its shafts resting on the ground to the right; on it are the branches of silver birch and oak, with brush-wood piled on the ground around the wheels. A young girl is seated in profile to the right on the far shaft. She wears a red headscarf tied under the chin and a short jacket over an apron and dress; her head is turned away from the viewer, her left hand resting in her lap and holding an apple, her right hand placed on a branch behind her. Between the shafts is a collie, also looking into the distance. The surrounding landscape appears to be marshy farmland at the foot of the dramatic, rocky hillside in the background, which slopes downward from the upper right corner; along its lower slopes are wisps of smoke. A young oak tree with curled brown leaves stands in the middle ground, below the profile of the hillside.
Gallery text panel The Pre-Raphaelites in their Time Britain's first and best-known radical art movement emerged from within the Royal Academy in 1848. Its original members were rebellious art students who were disillusioned with contemporary practice. They looked back to Italian art before Raphael, seeing the pre-1500 period as one of great sincerity. They called themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. In an age of rapid industrial and urban expansion, Pre-Raphaelite artists like Rossetti, Hunt and Millais, and pioneering design reformers such as William Morris, sought a return to pre-industrial values of art and design in truth to nature and materials, and good workmanship. In addition, the arts of the Middle Ages and Middle East were important sources of stylistic inspiration. The Bible, literature and contemporary life were preferred over subjects derived from classical mythology. The Brotherhood also rejected contrived studio lighting and took canvases outside to paint directly from nature. Although attempting to convey exactly what they saw, they created a heightened reality of dream-like intensity with minute details and bright, dazzling colours. Their art was a new kind of history painting for a new age.
Canvas: 194.5cm x 149.5cm
Frame (approximate): 236.2cm x 188cm
Place of creation
Gift of Gibbon Bayley Worthington
© Manchester Art Gallery