18th Century


This is Fragonard’s ‘The Joy’s of Motherhood.”

Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Joys of Motherhood

Yeah, I don’t think he spent a lot of time around women with young children.

Of course, looking at the painting, it doesn’t really look like he spent a lot of time outside either.  Those are some impressively fantastical and chinoiseried trees!


  1. Yup, the joys of motherhood don’t generally include being so poor you have to put your baby in a wheelbarrow while collecting firewood or flowers on your back, with a whingeing toddler hanging onto your leg…
    Actually, this is not so far from the truth! Maybe he was being Ironical?

  2. Sigh, I know it’s very silly, but I love this uber-romanticized pastoralism (got a whole board dedicated to it on Pinterest). Although I must admit that those trees look like they came straight out of The Lorax.

    • Hehe. Two comments and already someone is mentioning romantic pastorialism! This post has key words that I’m just waiting for commenters to say – it’s kind of like QI but without awesome sirens.

  3. I don’t think he spent much time with poor people either- or perhaps she has premature grey hair because of hard life and not because she has powedered it. 😀

  4. Maire Smith says

    I don’t know. She looks appropriately tired. I mean, she’s all dolled up to the nines for an audience, her baby’s happy and well-nourished looking, and she can afford nice clothes for both of them, but her eyes are still kind of exhausted looking. Seems reasonably realistic to me. I bet the baby has been awake all day and she’s trying out the wheelbarrow in the hope that maybe, just maybe, it will drop off there.

    • Haha! My parent’s used to take me for car rides as a baby. It worked too well – I still fall asleep on car trips!

  5. I love that she’s carting the baby around in a wheelbarrow! Makes sense to me…we’ve found that wagons and little carts are perfect for hauling children at reenactments. Especially when the walls are high enough that they can’t escape. I do love her clothes–the full-sleeved shift and the coif, especially. And the underpetticoat.

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