'The return from the mill', Rosa Bonheur

A man with a walking stick follows a pack-laden horse and donkey

This French artist was a specialist in animals. The texture in the coats of the horse and donkey show that her style was rooted in direct observation of nature. She kept a small menagerie, visited slaughterhouses and dissected animals to gain anatomical knowledge. Her work was especially popular with English collectors.

At a time when it was exceptional for women to have independent careers, Bonheur was a feminist ahead of her time. She had short hair, smoked and wore masculine clothing.

Artwork Details

Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Date: date unknown; perhaps about 1860
Accession No: WAG 185