About this artwork

An amorous young birdcatcher makes an offering of a small bird to a barefoot young shepherd girl in an attempt to win her heart. Leaning over the birdcatcher’s shoulder is a young child who attempts to feed the remaining birds some grain, echoing the theme of offering and enticement. These parallel themes of nourishment of both the heart and the body respectively were intended to reinforce the romantic notion that love is as necessary as food. Boucher specialised in this type of decorative pastoral scene, although towards the end of his life such pictures were criticised for their seemingly ‘frivolous’ themes. This painting and its two companions which are also in the National Gallery of Scotland collection, were originally owned by the Marchal de Saincy family.

  • title: A Pastoral Scene ('L'Offrande a la Villageoise')
  • accession number: NG 2440
  • artist: Francois BoucherFrench (1703 - 1770)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Animals Rococo
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: Dated 1761
  • measurements: Painted area: 231.50 x 91.00 cm (framed: 262.00 x 121.00 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1986

Francois Boucher

Francois Boucher

Boucher excelled as a painter of decorative pictures, joyful and exuberant in character. His varied work included portraits, landscapes, mythological subjects, designs for tapestries, drawings and engravings. Boucher won first prize at the French Academy in 1723 and travelled to Rome in 1728. On his return to Paris he established a successful studio and became the favoured painter of King Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour. He was overwhelmed with commissions and was appointed First Painter to the King in 1765.