Boucher depicts here a well-known story from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit, was so devoted to her orchards that she took no notice of suitors. The god Vertumnus transformed himself into the form of a ragged old woman to gain her confidence. Boucher was fond of the subject and had already portrayed it on several occasions, including an overdoor for the royal Château de la Muette in 1749, a design for the Beauvais tapestry manufactory in 1757, and within an oval medallion for the Gobelins tapestries woven beginning in 1764 for Croome Court. In his virtuouso manner of handling the chalk, Boucher is here akin to Jean-Honoré Fragonard, his most famous student.
François Flameng (French, Paris 1856–1923 Paris), Flameng sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, May 26-27, 1919, no. 95, repr. as "Cérès cherchant sa fille"; Alphonse Trézel (French)Trézel sale, Paris, Galerie Jean Charpentier, May 17, 1935, no. 24, repr.; Mrs. O'Donnell Hoover
Ananoff 385/7; Bean and Turcic 1986.32
Regina Shoolman Slatkin François Boucher in North American Collections: 100 Drawings. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., December 23, 1973-March 17, 1974; Art Institute of Chicago, April 4-May 12, 1974. Washington D.C., 1973, cat. no. 84, fig. no. 44, p. 110.
Alexandre Ananoff, Daniel Wildenstein François Boucher. 2 vols., Lausanne and Paris, 1976, cat. no. 385/7, fig. no. 951, p. 89, vol. 2, ill.
Edith Appleton Standen European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, cat. no. 57, p. 393, ill.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th-18th Century French Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986, cat. no. 32, p. 39, ill.
Pierre Rosenberg, Marion C. Stewart French Paintings 1500-1825, The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. 1987, fig. no. 7, pp. 121, 123.
"Curatorial Reports and Departmental Accessions: Drawings." in Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, July 1, 1989 - June 30, 1990. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 120, New York, 1990, p. 20.
Jacob Bean, William M. Griswold, Helen Bobritzky Mules "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1989-1990: Drawings." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 48, no. 2, New York, Autumn 1990, p. 44, ill.
"Boucher's Late Brown Chalk Composition Drawings." Master Drawings. vol. 30, 1992, fig. no. 7, p. 262, ill.