Skip Navigation

Summer in the Country

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.

Here, Homer illustrates a group of women playing croquet, which was "imported" to the United States from England in the early 1860s and soon became the most popular outdoor summer game in the country. Croquet was valued because it was a healthful "means of tempting young women into the air and sun." Young women (and men) also liked the game because it afforded a safe, socially acceptable opportunity for flirtation. It was noted in another article that "[croquet] can be played with equal facility by ladies and gentlemen, skill and ingenuity being much more important to success than mere physical strength."
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1869
DIMENSIONS Image: 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (11.4 x 16.5 cm) Sheet: 10 3/4 x 7 3/4 in. (27.3 x 19.7 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Page from Appleton's Journal of Literature, Science and Art, July 10, 1869, vol. 1, p. 465 Drawn by Winslow Homer, engraved by John Karst
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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.