In 1884, Pissarro moved and settled in ragny-sur-Epte, a small town sixty miles from Paris, close to the Normandy border. The small town consisted of houses set in a row along the main road that bisected the village. Joachim Pissarro comments:
"Unlike Pontoise, whose tensions were those of a suburban town, semirural and semiurban, in ragny, no signs of industry could be observed for miles. Varied expanses of pasture and cultivated land complete the visual field. However, ragny's earthly space is not banal. For twenty years Pissarro concentrated on this very confined area, on the visual material offered by the stretch of meadows lying in front of him, informed by poplars, gates, the river, and produced over two hundred paintings of these motifs. His representations of these fields and gardens constitute the most spectacularly intense pictorial effort to 'cover' a particular given space in his career" (J. Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, New York, 1993, p. 225).
Pissarro's arcadian peasant pictures of the 1880s and 1890s are reminiscent of earlier treatment of the theme by Barbizon painters, namely Jean-Franois Millet. In Millet's painting, Summer, The Gleaners, circa 1853 (Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield), Millet portrays peasant women at work in the hay fields. He ennobles these stoic figures in a radiant golden light. Pissarro also depicts peasant women at work in the present work who appear more integrated in the land than in Millet's oeuvre.