Thanks to everyone who got in touch about the mystery image we posted last week. It turns out to be an ‘old women mill’ or ‘old wives mill’ – an old joke about a place old women could go. When they passed between the mill stones they would come out looking young and attractive again! Our copy of the image forms part of the EM Gardner Collection which is available to adopt in our Adopt a Collection programme.
This coloured version of the image is from the Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum) and can be viewed here: http://digitaltmuseum.se/011023303640.
There are other pictures of the same idea here: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/collectie/RP-P-1882-A-5926 and here: http://www.hellenicaworld.com/Art/Paintings/en/Part14998.html; and you can read the story here: http://www.cingolani.com/vonVolkmann_9.html.