Cider Making

Artist: William Sidney Mount (American, Setauket, New York 1807–1868 Setauket, New York)

Date: 1840–41

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 27 x 34 1/8 in. (68.6 x 86.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Bequest of Charles Allen Munn, by exchange, 1966

Accession Number: 66.126


Mount usually recorded familiar activities that occurred in his hometown of Setauket, Long Island. Yet savvy viewers would have seen through this painting's simple message of rural work to its clues about the political maneuvering surrounding the hard-fought presidential election of 1840. The cider makers' down-home simplicity was evoked by the Whig Candidate, William Henry Harrison, who campaigned as a common man claiming to prefer a log cabin and hard cider to the alleged excesses enjoyed by the incumbent, Martin Van Buren. By including the date conspicuously on the cider barrel in the foreground, Mount calls attention to his scene's political content.