Skip Navigation

"She Turned Her Face to the Window"

American Art

Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, Winslow Homer is known primarily for his large body of works in oil and watercolor. However, he also had an early career as a freelance illustrator, making drawings for wood engravings that were reproduced in mass-circulation periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly. In 1998, the Brooklyn Museum received a generous gift of more than 250 wood-engraved illustrations by Homer from Harvey Isbitts.

Homer drew five illustrations for the serialized novel, Beechdale, by Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune (writing under the pseudonym Marion Harland). The novel is a romantic tale centering on duty, false love, and moral conflict. The young heroine, Jessie, is depicted recovering from a sprained foot and dreamily listening to an address given by Roy Fordham beyond the open window. She is interrupted from her happy reveries about Roy (to whom she is secretly engaged) by the arrival of his cousin, Orrin Wyllys. After polite conversation, “she turned her face to the window.” Homer’s drawing, emphasizing mood in favor of narrated events, forecast his paintings of the early 1870s featuring contemplative women positioned near windows, symbolizing access to the world beyond domesticity.
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1868
DIMENSIONS Image: 4 7/8 x 7 in. (12.4 x 17.8 cm) Sheet: 5 3/4 x 8 5/8 in. (14.6 x 21.9 cm) Frame: 15 x 20 x 1 1/2 in. (38.1 x 50.8 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Page from The Galaxy, May, 1868, vol. V, opposite p. 581 Drawn by Winslow Homer, engraved by E. Sears
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910). "She Turned Her Face to the Window," 1868. Wood engraving, Image: 4 7/8 x 7 in. (12.4 x 17.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Harvey Isbitts, 1998.105.107 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.105.107_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1998.105.107_bw.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.