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  • image P375

After Johann Ludwig Aberli (1723 - 1786)
Prints of the same original were also made by Johann Heinrich Bleuler (1758-1823), a Zurich printmaker (an example is in the British Museum 1958,0712.867, dated to c.1780-90).

Swiss Peasant Girl


Museum number: P375

Curatorial note

This is an etching published in Switzerland and originally titled 'Paysanne des environs de Berne' - one of the many popular prints of the late 18th and early 19th centuries illustrating traditional Swiss costumes. It has been trimmed to remove the inscriptions and plate marks but was probably produced by Aberli (the artist) and the engraver Balthasar Anton Dunker (1746-1807) as recorded in the inscriptions on examples in the British Museum. The printed outline has been hand-coloured.

It depicts a Swiss peasant girl in a blue and red dress with a striped apron over a white chemise [shirt], a yellow cap, wearing clogs and with her hair in two braids down her back. She is holding a wooden bucket and faces away from the viewer and to the left, looking towards a pool into which water falls from a crude fountain created by funneling it through a hollow tree-trunck. A plant in a pot sits on top of this fountain. The young woman is probably a laundress and the pool a public clothes-washing place of the sort found in villages across Europe.

There are a number of hand-coloured versions of this image in the British Museum (for example 1958,0712.555; 1958,0712.554; 1958,0712.556; 1958,0712.557 and 1958,0712.553; the BM also has a monochrome version with only a blue wash, 1958,0712.558.

Provenance help-art-provenance

The provenance of the three Swiss costume prints owned by Soane is unknown. He may have brought them back from Switzerland himself when he returned from his Grand Tour in 1780 but this seems unlikely as they are probably of a slightly later date.


Helen Dorey, 'The Historic Framing and presentation of watercolours, drawings and prints at Sir John's Museum', in ed. Nancy Bell, Historic Framing and Presentation of Watercolours and Prints, Proceedings of the Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation June 1996, pp. 20-31

Associated objects

P366, another similar
P373, another similar

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk