Painted in July 1885, when the artist was living at Nuenen, near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, the picture was influenced by the peasant subjects of J.-F. Millet (compare it with Millet's Milkmaid). On 6 July van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo: "I have here before me some figures: a woman ... seen from the front, her head almost on the ground, digging carrots. I have been watching those peasant figures here for more than a year and a half, especially their action, just to catch their character".
Notes: Exhibited: 'Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European Masters', Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London, UK, 1959, no. 77; 'Vincent: Vincent van Gogh', National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan, 12 October 1985 - 08 December 1985, no. 33; 'Vincent: Vincent van Gogh', Nagoya-City Museum, Nagoya, Japan, 21 December 1985 - 02 February 1985; 'French Impressionism: Treasures from the Midlands', Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK, 07 June 1991 - 18 August 1991, p. 42; 'The Real van Gogh: The Artist and his Letters', Royal Academy, London, UK, 23 January 2010 - 18 April 2010, no. 38; 'Bacon and the Masters', Sainsbury Art Centre (UEA), Norwich, UK, 18 April 2015 - 26 July 2015