The Hireling Shepherd

Image credit: Manchester Art Gallery

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A vividly coloured, minutely detailed painting of a shepherd and shepherdess, seated on the ground in a lush green summer meadow, surrounded by their sheep, a willow-lined grassy stream behind them. The shepherd is a 'hireling', a biblical reference (John 10, 12). In the centre, the young shepherdess leans back on her right arm, flirting with the young shepherd who is leaning forward on his knees with one arm around her shoulder showing her a death's head moth in his hand. The shepherdess is wearing a white long-sleeved smock, with white circular embroidery, over a bright red dress, a yellow head scarf over her auburn hair. The shepherd wears a bright blue over-garment, secured at his waist with a belt, from which hangs a small barrel. His lower legs are bound with rope.

Manchester Art Gallery



The Hireling Shepherd




oil on canvas


H 76.4 x W 109.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from Tom Leathart, 1896

Work type


Inscription description

Signed blc : Holman Hunt. 1851. Ewell


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Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M2 3JL England

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