About this artwork

Two women are taking a short rest from gathering tree branches for sale as firewood. The older woman’s hunched back and clawed hands betray a lifetime of physical toil. The setting is the forest of Fontainebleau, south of Paris, close to the village of Barbizon. Millet was an exponent of Realism, a movement that rejected historical art and idealisation in favour of a truthful view of contemporary reality. He was also a leading member of the group of artists known as the Barbizon school. Following the February Revolution of 1848, he often painted this subject, which epitomised the poverty and hopelessness of peasant life. In the early 1880s Millet’s realism was admired by Scottish collectors and emulated by the Glasgow Boys, who recorded female fieldworkers in Berwickshire. This work was bought by the wealthy financier Frederick Beer and his wife Rachel (née Sassoon), known as ‘The First Lady of Fleet Street’.

Updated 2021

  • artist:
  • title:
    The Faggot Gatherers
  • date created:
    About 1850 - 1855
  • materials:
    oil on panel
  • measurements:
    30.40 x 18.00 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Accepted in lieu of Estate Duty by HM Government from the Craigmyle Collection, and allocated to the National Galleries of Scotland, 2020
  • accession number:
    NG 2887
  • gallery:
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Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet