In August 1872, after a brief visit to London, Pissarro left Louveciennes and moved to Pontoise for a second time. Located twenty-five miles from Paris, Pontoise was a bustling center for poultry and agricultural supplies, aided by factories and a railway linking it to the capital. Pissarro mainly focused on three areas in and around Pontoise: L'Hermitage on the outskirts of town, the neighboring town Auvers, and high cliffs running along the Oise River, concentrating on depicting the natural beauty of the Pontoise landscape and emphasizing its agrarian culture. Pissarro was greatly influenced by the rural landscapes of Barbizon painters such as Millet, Daubigny, and Diaz, and consequently these bucolic village scenes became a theme of his work particularly during 1874.
Richard Brettell described this period of Pissarro's career,
"Three figure paintings of peasant genre dating from the spring and summer of 1874 are clear attempts at wrestling with la nature vivante and la vie agreste, undoubtedly direct pictorial responses to the advice of Duret. Duret succeeded in turning Pissarro away from Monet's style back to a kind of acceptable, even 'academic' imagery of rural nature, that was, in most ways, antithetical to the bourgeois leisure world in which the other major Impressionist painters operated" (R. Brettell, Pissarro and Pontoise, New Haven, 1990, p. 166).