Shepherd and Shepherdess

Decorator: Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine)

Date: 1878

Culture: American

Medium: Glazed earthenware, overglaze enamel decoration

Dimensions: Overall: 36 x 49 1/4 in. (91.4 x 125.1 cm)
Each tile: 8 x 8 in. (20.3 x 20.3 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Bequest of Arthur G. Altschul, 2002

Accession Number: 2003.140


This surprising work by Homer is one of his rare examples of decorative painting on ceramic. It was produced during the artist’s active involvement with the Tile Club. One of many New York artist organizations established after the nation’s centennial, the Tile Club was a self-conscious response to the country’s growing interest in the so-called household art movement, also known as the Aesthetic movement, which called for a marriage of the beautiful and useful. The surround’s pastoral figures evoke both the contemporary work of English artist Walter Crane as well as Homer’s own Houghton Farm watercolors.