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  • John Linnell purchased a copy of Robert Bloomfield’s “The Farmer's Boy: A Rural Poem” (1800) around 1815 (Story, 1982, p. 79). A self-taught “Peasant Poet,” Bloomfield was also known as “The Suffolk Poet” for his commemoration of agricultural life in that area. He acknowledged the tedium and anxiety of living off the land in the story of Giles, the farmer’s boy, and his various labors throughout the seasons. In summer, for example, “The Farmer’s life displays in every part A moral lesson to the sensual heart Though in the lap of Plenty, thoughtful still, He looks beyond the present good or ill”. (Wickett and Duval, 1971, p. 80) The poem cycle celebrates a rural community and the sense of the divine spirit that pervaded its pursuits. As Linnell turned away from organized religion and toward a sacred conception of landscape, he would have appreciated this sentiment. His 1830 painting “The Farmer Boy”, exhibited at the Royal Academy, commemorates this connection to Bloomfield. “The Shepherd Boy” is thought to be a smaller replica of this earlier work, likewise inspired by Bloomfield and the motto of “The Farmer's Boy”, taken from Alexander Pope’s poem “Summer—The Second Pastoral; or Alexis” (1709): “a Shepherd's boy, he seeks no better name.” The child gently engages the viewer, looking up as he plays the fipple flute, an instrument similar to a recorder. The humble origins of the shepherd boy and his humility parallel the pastoral identity of Christ as a “shepherd of men.” Linnell’s close relationship with Samuel Palmer in this period motivated this exploration. In 1828 and 1829, Linnell and George Richmond visited Palmer at Shoreham in Kent, where the younger artist was engaged in his own visionary experiments with landscape painting. Linnell maintained this symbiotic relationship among landscape study, artistic practice, and religious belief throughout his career.
?:PX_curatorial_comment
  • John Linnell purchased a copy of Robert Bloomfield’s “The Farmer's Boy: A Rural Poem” (1800) around 1815 (Story, 1982, p. 79). A self-taught “Peasant Poet,” Bloomfield was also known as “The Suffolk Poet” for his commemoration of agricultural life in that area. He acknowledged the tedium and anxiety of living off the land in the story of Giles, the farmer’s boy, and his various labors throughout the seasons. In summer, for example, “The Farmer’s life displays in every part A moral lesson to the sensual heart Though in the lap of Plenty, thoughtful still, He looks beyond the present good or ill”. (Wickett and Duval, 1971, p. 80) The poem cycle celebrates a rural community and the sense of the divine spirit that pervaded its pursuits. As Linnell turned away from organized religion and toward a sacred conception of landscape, he would have appreciated this sentiment. His 1830 painting “The Farmer Boy”, exhibited at the Royal Academy, commemorates this connection to Bloomfield. “The Shepherd Boy” is thought to be a smaller replica of this earlier work, likewise inspired by Bloomfield and the motto of “The Farmer's Boy”, taken from Alexander Pope’s poem “Summer—The Second Pastoral; or Alexis” (1709): “a Shepherd's boy, he seeks no better name.” The child gently engages the viewer, looking up as he plays the fipple flute, an instrument similar to a recorder. The humble origins of the shepherd boy and his humility parallel the pastoral identity of Christ as a “shepherd of men.” Linnell’s close relationship with Samuel Palmer in this period motivated this exploration. In 1828 and 1829, Linnell and George Richmond visited Palmer at Shoreham in Kent, where the younger artist was engaged in his own visionary experiments with landscape painting. Linnell maintained this symbiotic relationship among landscape study, artistic practice, and religious belief throughout his career.
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  • Alternate title :: A Sheperd Boy with a Dog
  • Alternate title :: Shepherd Boy
  • Alternate title :: landscape
  • Bibliograpic reference ::
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Christiana Payne, Toil and plenty, images of the agricultural landscape in England, 1780-1890, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1993, p. 101, cat. 19, pl. 12, ND1354.4 P39 1993 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 291, no. 105, pl. 105, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Katharine Crouan, John Linnell, a centennial exhibition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] New York, 1982, p. 25, No. 68, Pl. 68, NJ18 L658 C75 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 154 (v.1), no. 294, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Raymond Lister, British romantic painting, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge New York, 1989, no. 47, ND467 L53 1989 (YCBA)
  • Dimension height :: 22.9cm
  • Dimension width :: 16.5cm
  • Exhibition :: 2016 Installation YCBA - 401
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: John Linnell Centenary Exhibition
  • Located in :: New Haven
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: YCBA, 410, Sc 34
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: painting
  • Subject Concept :: animals
  • Subject Concept :: boy
  • Subject Concept :: costume
  • Subject Concept :: country
  • Subject Concept :: dog (animal)
  • Subject Concept :: fipple flute
  • Subject Concept :: genre subject
  • Subject Concept :: hat
  • Subject Concept :: instrument
  • Subject Concept :: music
  • Subject Concept :: pastoral
  • Subject Concept :: recorder
  • Subject Concept :: sheep
  • Subject Concept :: shepherd
  • Subject Concept :: staff (staff weapon component)
  • Subject Concept :: trees
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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?:label
  • Shepherd Boy Playing a Flute
?:type