When exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1858 the picture was little noticed or commented upon by reviewers. It was Rossetti who drew it to the attention of John Ruskin and Ruskin's 'Academy Notes' on the picture are a mixture of ecstatic enthusiasm and fault-finding;
'This, after John Lewis's, is simply the most perfect piece of painting with respect to touch in the Academy this year; in some points of precision it goes beyond anything the Pre-Raphaelites have done yet. I know no such thistle-down, no such chalk hills and elm trees, no such natural pieces of faraway cloud, in any of their works.
The composition is palpably crude and wrong in many ways, especially in the awkward white cloud at the top; and the tone of the whole a little too much as if the chalk of the flints had been mixed with all the colours. For all that, it is a marvellous picture and may be examined inch by inch with delight; though nearly the last stone I should ever have thought of anyone's sitting down to paint would have been a chalk flint.
If he can make so much of that, what will Mr Brett make of mica slate and gneiss! If he can paint so lovely a distance from the Surrey Downs and railway traversed vales, what would he not make of the chestnut groves of the Val d'Aosta?'