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A boy employed by a farmer as a bird-watcher (?) in a cornfield. Mezzotint by J. Ward, 1810.

  • Ward, James, 1769-1859.
Jan. 1st 1810
  • Pictures

About this work

Also known as

Bird keeper's repast


He sits on a grassy bank in front of a big stook of corn. His dog lies on the left. Paraphernalia on the ground include a jug, a horn, and a mechanical device (bird trap?). OED currently records birdwatcher only in its 20th-century sense (a naturalist who studies birds). Is this bird-watcher employed to scare away birds and prevent them from eating crops?

Illustration of a passage in The farmer's boy, a very well-known poem by Robert Bloomfield published in 1800


[London] (Surrey Side Westminster Bridge) : Thomas Palser, Jan. 1st 1810.

Physical description

1 print : mezzotint ; sheet 59.8 x 48 cm


The farmer's boy, attending to his duty, as a bird watcher. 'Twas thus with Giles: meek, fatherless & poor: / Labour his portion, but he felt no more: / No stripes, no tyranny his steps pursued: His life was constant, cheerrid servitude. ... Through every change stil varied his employ, Yet each new duty brought its share of joy. Vide Bloomfield's Farmer's boy. Painted & engraved by James Ward.

References note

J. Chaloner Smith, British mezzotinto portraits, vol. 4, London 1883, p 1453, James Ward no. 44 (Birdkeeper's repast)


Wellcome Library no. 674401i



  • English

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