Eye contact with viewer
Clowes sometimes has the subject essentially face the viewer and pose for the portrait, as in Buckskin. Othertimes the subjects may seem completely oblivious to us as viewers. The situation is mixed here, witht his particular subject engaging the viewer.
Source of Disturbance
Relatively small in size, and specifically seen by only one or two of the subjects, the train rattles and potentially whistles through the Dutchess County farmland for the first time. The date of the painting is unknown and may be as early as 1871. While the intrusion of man in nature is an early and common theme among Hudson Valley School painters, and less likely to be any effort of an historical event, the first trains which were designed to connect New York City and Albany started to cross into Dutchess borders New Year's Eve 1848. On ,June 21, 1869, the so-called internal county railroad network was launched and grew rapidly for two decades. It was this railroad network that helped propel the Heartsease Farm and Caroline's Hart family into a thriving international apple business.