Edward Wheelwright. "Personal Recollections of Jean François Millet." Atlantic Monthly 38 (September 1876), pp. 273–74, recounts seeing a version of this picture (now Cincinnati Art Museum) in progress in Millet's studio, and inquiring if he could buy it; relates that since that picture was already promised to someone else, Millet began a replica which within a few days reached the same state of completion as the first; describes how the artist "now worked upon the two pictures alternately, carrying first one and then the other a little in advance of its competitor, and in this way making both, as he himself thought, better than either would have been without this rivalry, as it were, between them"; notes that Millet finished the pictures in their frames and signed both; comments that he could not tell the finished versions apart, but later learned that the one he chose was the first one.
Julia Cartwright. Jean François Millet: His Life and Letters. 2nd ed. New York, 1902, pp. 166–67, repeats the story of the creation of the two separate versions, but mistakenly states that it was the replica that Wheelwright acquired.
Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. Millet raconté par lui-même. Paris, 1921, vol. 2, p. 30, publishes a March 5, 1856 letter from Millet to Rousseau stating that he is working on a picture of a shepherdess (the Cincinnati version) for a friend of the artist Charles Tillot; repeats Wheelwright's story, saying that it was considered impossible to tell the two versions apart.
Robert Herbert. Jean-François Millet. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. [London], 1976, p. 108, under no. 57 [French ed., Paris, 1975, p. 123, under no. 82], refers to this picture as lost since the Wells sale of 1936; lists two preparatory drawings for the composition.
Robert L. Herbert. Letter to Gary Tinterow. February 23, 1984, believes that the removed signature was "perfectly genuine" [see Notes].
Paintings and Works of Art from the Collections of the Late Lord Clark of Saltwood, O.M., C.H., K.C.B. Sotheby's, London. June 27, 1984, unpaginated, under no. 24, erroneously states that this picture was painted for Charles Tillot.
R. Stanley Johnson. 19th Century French Prints, Drawings, & Bronzes. Exh. cat., R. S. Johnson International. Chicago, 1985, p. 128, under no. 95.
John House. Monet: Nature into Art. New Haven, 1986, p. 181.
Alexandra R. Murphy. Letter to Gretchen Wold. March 15, 1991, believes that the removed signature was genuine, adding that Millet's finished works were always signed, but that his signatures "are remarkably vulnerable to even careful cleaning".
19th Century European Art and Fine 19th Century European Art. Christie's, New York. October 30, 2002, p. 40, calls it "Shepherdess Knitting"; mentions the MMA and Cincinnati pictures in relation to Millet's two versions of "Norman Milkmaid" (lot no. 22 and Barber Institute of Art, Birmingham, England), which she suggests may also have been painted simultaneously.
Susan Alyson Stein in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 40, 235, no. 20, ill. (color and black and white).
Simon Kelly in The Repeating Image: Multiples in French Painting from David to Matisse. Exh. cat., Walters Art Museum. Baltimore, 2007, p. 80 n. 105.