Frederick Walker (1840-1875)
Signed and dated 1865
Museum no. P.3-1911
Given by the executors of Sir William Agnew Bt.
There was a great vogue in the 19th century for images that depicted idealised rustic or seasonal settings. This is often interpreted as an escapist response to the upheavals of urbanisation and industrialisation. Many Victorian artists also specialised in sentimental interpretations of the historical past, producing works that were emotionally resonant but rarely true to period. The concept of one's personal past also formed part of visual imagery, with a focus on the more poignant life events: birth, childhood, marriage and death.
In this image it seems probable that Walker is referring not only to the passage of the seasons, but also to the passage of human life. The apple and tree have biblical connotations of Eve and the Tree of Knowledge.