Skip Navigation

Skating on the Ladies' Skating-Pond in the Central Park, New York

Winslow Homer

American Art

A chief factor in the rise of skating’s national popularity was the opening to skaters of Central Park’s lake, which was reportedly first used by some three hundred people on a December Sunday in 1858. The number ballooned to a staggering ten thousand by the following Sunday. The view depicted here was described in Harper’s Weekly: “The Ladies’ Pond is reserved for the fair sex, and no gentlemen are allowed to skate on it unless they are accompanied by ladies. It is kept in good order, and policemen on skates effectually repress all tendencies to rowdyism. . . . The scene . . . usually draws a large concourse of visitors.” The strong reportorial nature of this image reflects Homer’s aim to satisfy the intense public curiosity about Central Park.

MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1860
DIMENSIONS Image: 13 7/8 x 20 3/8 in. (35.2 x 51.8 cm) Sheet: 16 x 22 1/2 in. (40.6 x 57.2 cm) Frame: 22 3/4 x 28 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (57.8 x 73 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910). Skating on the Ladies' Skating-Pond in the Central Park, New York, 1860. Wood engraving, Image: 13 7/8 x 20 3/8 in. (35.2 x 51.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Harvey Isbitts, 1998.105.34 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.105.34_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1998.105.34_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.