Farmer's Nooning, an early work, is William Sidney Mount's most complex and ambitious painting. In its day, critics praised the work for its heroic depiction of the African American male and for Mount's avoidance of the use of stereotypical facial characteristics then associated with the race. Mount's preparatory oil sketch of this work shows that his initial intent was to draw the viewer's attention to the boy on the left sharpening his scythe; in the finished work, however, the artist focused on the sleeping man. The sparkling sun-filled realism of the composition resulted from the fact that Mount partially painted the work out-of-doors. In 1843, Farmer's Nooning was engraved and distributed throughout the nation via the Apollo association, one of the early lottery associations through which subscribers purchasing an engraved print had a chance to win an original work of art.