Osier Peeling on the Cam

Robert Walker Macbeth, 1848 - 1910

Osier Peeling on the Cam

Robert Walker Macbeth 1848 - 1910


Young peasant woman sitting on the banks of the River Cam, under the shade of a tree. She is dressed in brown with a red shawl and is busy stripping willow twigs for basket making. To the left a young baby in a cradle playing with a willow twig. There are bundles of stripped willow in the background on the banks of the river.

Display Label

Osier Peeling (on the Cam) 1875 Robert Walker Macbeth 1848 - 1910 Oil on canvas This mother strips the outer layer of willow shoots whilst keeping her baby safe and happy as she works by the River Cam in Cambridgeshire. Willows are found in damp habitats such as riverbanks. The osier is an Eurasian type with long, flexible shoots which are especially useful for basket weaving. Macbeth worked on the Graphic magazine in London where he exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy. The artist’s heroic pastoral compositions were compared to the novels of Thomas Hardy. This hardworking mother, eking out a meagre living, has echoes of Hardy’s fated rural heroines Mrs Annie Woodhouse bequest 1940.79

Object Name

Osier Peeling on the Cam

Creators Name

Robert Walker Macbeth

Date Created



unframed: 51.6cm x 40.8cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint

On Display

[BG] Manchester Art Gallery - Balcony Gallery
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© Manchester Art Gallery

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