The Royal Academy Exhibition 1856
By much the most poetical work the painter has yet conceived ; and also, as far as I know, the first instance existing of a perfectly painted twilight. It is as easy, as it is common, to give obscurity to twilight, but to give the glow within its darkness is another matter ; and though Giorgione might have come near the glow, he never gave the valley mist. Note also the subtle difference between the purple of the long nearer range of hills, and the blue of the distant peak emerging beyond.
(1)[This picture, now in the Corporation Gallery at Manchester, shows four girls piling leaves for autumn burning. The landscape was painted at Annat Lodge, Perthshire, an old house with a cedared garden near Bowerswell, which Millais took after his marriage. The two taller girls were Millais's little sisters-in-law, afterwards Mrs. Stibbard and Mrs. Caird; the others were the gardener's children. The picture, it has been said, was the fount of inspiration of Mason and Fred Walker (Spielmann's Millais and his Works, p. 92).]