Winslow Homer’s watercolor and graphite painting “The Turtle Pound” was created in 1898 and is currently housed at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. The piece measures 14 15/16 x 21 3/8 inches and depicts a scene of animal hunting-and-racing, as well as lakes-and-ponds. Homer’s career began with his realist portrayals of the US Civil War, and he excelled in illustration, oil painting, and watercolor, becoming widely regarded as the greatest American painter of the 19th century.
“The Turtle Pound” is an excellent example of Homer’s genre paintings that depicted classic images of 19th-century American life. The piece is part of a series of paintings in which Homer captured the sea in Maine. The artwork shows men working together to catch turtles by corralling them into a pen called a “turtle pound.” This method allowed for an easier way to harvest turtle meat than individual fishing.
The scene portrayed in this work highlights a cultural practice prevalent during that time period. In addition to providing an insight into early technique practices for catching seafood before nets existed or large-scale commercial fishing was available, it also offers viewers rich visual narratives about everyday living from that era. This masterpiece has been reproduced as a hand-painted oil painting on canvas and stands as one of Winslow Homer’s finest works ever created.