Urgent Museum Notice

Love’s Young Dream

Close up of Love’s Young Dream

A young woman in 19th-century dress stands before a wooden house in an idyllic rural landscape. She holds a bouquet and gazes at a distant horse and rider. A gray-haired woman knitting on the porch steps pauses to watch her. On the porch, a gray-haired man concentrates on a book.

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, Love's Young Dream, 1887; Oil on canvas, 21 1/4 x 32 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Love’s Young Dream
Jennie Augusta Brownscombe

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe is best known for sentimental genre pictures and scenes from colonial history. Loves Young Dream, one of her most popular paintings, portrays an idealized vision of traditional rural life and family.

Brownscombe’s ability to create a wealth of believable details adds to the strength of her narrative. A young woman stands on the middle step of her modest home, gazing longingly toward the road. A man on horseback, presumably her romantic interest, appears in the distance.

Meanwhile, the gray-haired woman—perhaps her mother—glances up from her knitting. Her expression seems to register fondness and concern. The male figure, by contrast, is fully engaged in his reading rather than the narrative unfolding before him.

Brownscombe contrasts the right-hand side of the picture, where all three figures have been placed, with the left, where an unencumbered view of the landscape stretches back to mist-shrouded hills.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Jennie Augusta Brownscombe
  • Title

    Love’s Young Dream
  • Date

    1887
  • Medium

    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions

    21 1/4 x 32 1/8 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay
  • Photo Credit

    Lee Stalsworth
  • On Display

    Yes