About this artwork

Going to the Hay was apparently the first of a whole series of pastoral compositions recording seasonal rural pursuits from the 1850s to the 1870s – a preoccupation shared by Cameron’s near-contemporaries Sam Bough, Alexander Fraser, and William Darling McKay. In Scotland women workers were routinely required to undertake almost all field tasks on the farm except those involving the management of horses, an exclusively male preserve. The figures are monumentally treated although on a small scale canvas, the painting celebrates the central role of women workers in Lowland Scottish agriculture, as distinct from traditional practice in England. Cameron’s slightly gentrified haymakers are not quite what they seem, despite the plausibility of their working costume, headgear and hay rake. Posed in the studio, or at the very least, independently of their naturalistic setting, the artist’s models were one of his younger sisters and his cousin, here portrayed singing a ballad as they walk

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Going to the Hay
  • date created:
    Dated 1858
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    57.20 x 42.50 cm (framed: 87.20 x 74.50 x 9.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Presented by James T Gibson-Craig 1879
  • accession number:
    NG 652
  • gallery:
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Hugh Cameron

Hugh Cameron