American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Winslow Homer, American, 1836–1910

Old Mill (The Morning Bell)


Oil on canvas

24 x 38 1/8 in. (61 x 96.8 cm) framed: 34 1/8 x 48 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (86.7 x 122.6 x 12.1 cm)
Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903
After the Civil War, economic necessity forced many women to work in factories. In this painting, which depicts the start of a workday, a fashionably dressed young woman, lunch pail in hand, walks up a makeshift ramp and rickety bridge leading to a dark mill. On the right, three chatting women in homespun dresses evoke a sense of rural community in contrast to the solitary figure who probably came from the city. Isolated at the crossroads of the painting, she remains symbolically poised between an agrarian past and the increasingly depersonalized, industrial present.
19th century
On view*

Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 64–65, ill.

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 156, 159, fig. 152.

Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006), 160, 238–39, 316, 330, fig. 178.

Nicholas Fox Weber, The Clarks of Cooperstown: Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Art Collections, Their Forty-Year Feud (New York: Aldred A. Knopf, 2007), ill.

Angela Miller et al., American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2008), 294, fig. 9.14.

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 248–49, no. 141, ill.

Daneen Wardrop, Emily Dickinson and the Labor of Clothing (Durham, N.C.: University of New Hampshire Press, 2009), p. 63, fig. 2.8, ill. plate 16, ill.

Claire Perry, The Great American Hall of Wonders: Art, Science, and Invention in the Nineteenth Century, exh. cat. (London: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2011), 38–39, 190, fig. 18.

David McCullough, “A Tribute to Helen Cooper,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2015): 16, fig. 1.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.