Old Mill (The Morning Bell) Artist: Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

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.


Oil on canvas


24 × 38 1/8 in. (61 × 96.8 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903

Accession Number



19th century


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 records is ongoing.



Albert Warren Kelsey, Belmont(?), Mass.; Mrs. B.H. Wentworth; Stephen Carlton Clark (1882–1960), New York, by 1961; bequeathed to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1961
  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 156–57, no. 68, ill
  • David McCullough, "A Tribute to Helen Cooper," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2015), 16, fig. 1
  • Brian Foss, "Homer Watson and "The Pioneer Mill"," Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales D'histoire De L'art Canadien 33, No. 1 (2012), 60, fig. 8
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Angela Miller et al., American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2008), 294, fig. 9.14
  • Nicholas Fox Weber, The Clarks of Cooperstown: Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Art Collections, Their Forty-Year Feud (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), ill
  • Barbara Novak, Voyages of the Self: Pairs, Parallels, and Patterns in American Art and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 83, fig. 5.3
  • Barbara Novak, American Painting of the Nineteenth Century (New York: Harper & Row, 2007), 139, fig. 10.1
  • 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
  • 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
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

allegories, animal art, figures (representations), human figures (visual works)


Signed lower right "Winslow Homer"

Technical metadata and APIs


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