Throughout his long life, Harpignies painted countless landscapes in the Barbizon style influenced by Corot. By the 1890s pictures such as this one were rather old-fashioned, but it is nevetheless painted with confidence and undiminished technical skill. In relation to the scale of the trees, the shepherdess at the right is minuscule, composed of little more than single dots of red and white paint intended to animate the scene. Harpignies was probably not depicting a specific site here but an imaginary one in which he subtly evokes the fugitive play of light on an autumn evening.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN