Frederick and Julia Billings purchased this painting, of a Breton laborer with horse and donkey carts harvesting seaweed for field fertilizer, for their New York City residence. It was later relocated, and recorded by Julia in her inventory as “Taken to Woodstock in 86.”
Dana was a portrait and genre painter, born in Boston. He was working as an artist in that city by 1852. By 1857 he had traveled to France for further study. Dana lived in France and in New York City during the Civil War years, and became a Member of the National Academy in 1863. He exhibited widely, and died in London after a long career, at the age of 94.