The artist spent most of his life in England but was French-born and trained. This early painting displays many conventions of the mid-18th century French landscape school. The scene itself is an invention and an excuse for a formal exercise. Warm and cool areas are carefully balanced, different types of scenery are combined to lead the eye across the work, and the whole is capriciously lit so that the animals and the couple stand out while other areas remain in shadow. When the painting was shown at the Paris Salon in 1763 it was praised by the great French writer on art, Diderot. Interestingly, the qualities which he singled out were the work’s delicious freshness and the truth to nature, whereas to English eyes, it is the reverse qualities of artifice and preciosity which seem most obvious.