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This is probably the most popular painting in the entire collection. Even though it was painted quite early in Clausen’s career, it shows many of the themes that he subsequently developed in his work. One of the most striking things about the picture is the way it contrasts rich and poor, giving a hint of where the artist’s true interests lay. His pictures of working people, truthfully showing the harsh realities of rural life, later established his high reputation. In 1881 he was living in Hampstead, which was developing rapidly on the edge of a large city and becoming a place where urban and rural, rich and poor, met. In this painting the modern city and its culture of consumerism and fashion is represented by the mother and child, whilst the countryside, with its cycle of labour and annual harvest, is suggested by the roadmenders and the flowerseller.
Spring Morning: Haverstock Hill
oil on canvas
H 100 x W 130.5 cm
gift through the Aitken Bequest