Love's Young Dream 1887

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, Loves Young Dream, 1887; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe is best known for sentimental genre pictures and scenes from colonial history. Loves Young Dream, one of her most popular paintings, portrays an idealized vision of traditional rural life and family.

Brownscombe’s ability to create a wealth of believable details adds to the strength of her narrative. A young woman stands on the middle step of her modest home, gazing longingly toward the road. A man on horseback, presumably her romantic interest, appears in the distance.

Meanwhile, the gray-haired woman—perhaps her mother—glances up from her knitting. Her expression seems to register fondness and concern. The male figure, by contrast, is fully engaged in his reading rather than the narrative unfolding before him.

Brownscombe contrasts the right-hand side of the picture, where all three figures have been placed, with the left, where an unencumbered view of the landscape stretches back to mist-shrouded hills.