Corot commenced this work en plein-air in 1872, sitting in M. Bellon’s property in Arras, where he painted alongside his friend, the artist Charles Desavary, and his biographer, Alfred Robaut. Robaut’s catalogue raisonné records this work in two states of naissance: it’s initial composition in 1872 is captured with the height of technology form the day - a photograph by Charles Desavary, which preserves the memory of the work as it was prior to its modifications. A second record – a drawing by Alfred Robaut – reveals the work’s appearance when Corot completed his painting in 1873, having altered the landscape in his studio. Corot’s deft painterly touch brings the scene to life with his silvery light glazes, whilst trees are introduced to the left side of the composition to frame the painting. During these alterations the figures remain unchanged, continuing their work, unaware of the aesthetic transformations around them. Whilst a superb example of the artist's oeuvre in its own right, the remarkable record associated with this painting gives us a rare insight into Corot’s approach when he was already an accomplished painter of recognised masterpieces.