Maidens Picking Flowers by a Stream

JOHN WILLIAM WATERHOUSE (1849-1917) Biography
PRE-RAPHAELITE (founded 1848) Biography

Maidens Picking Flowers by a Stream (United Kingdom, c.1911)

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Oil on canvas


94.00cm high
79.00cm wide
(37.01 inches high)
(31.10 inches wide)
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The artist's sale, Christie's, 23rd July 1926;
Christie's, 14th April 1967, lot 56 (bought by Saunders);
The Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd.


Hobson, Anthony, The Art and Life of J.W.Waterhouse, R.A., p.191, pl.136, catalogue of paintings no. 187.

Description / Expertise

Anthony Hobson has suggested that these theme was inspired by Burne-Jones’s March Marigold. If so Waterhouse has adapted the type of a girl in flowing dress stooping to pick flowers in a landscape to a more realist end. In most of this series, including the present painting, there is a strong sense of plein-air brightness. The prototype of the series in Waterhouse’s oeuvre was Windflowers of 1902, where the figure is caught by a gust of wind, which blows her hair and imperils the flowers that she has picked. In the present painting, which was done according to Hobson in c. 1911, the same model is seen kneeling beside a stream stretching her arm to pick the flowers. A loosely sketched group of companions is seen beyond on the far bank of the stream. The theme received its final treatment, but by this stage it had reverted to a mythological subject, in Narcissus of 1913, where Waterhouse painted his model standing but stooping to pick daffodils.