Watercolor on paper adhered to mat board, 8 x 10 1/4 inches, signed on the back and inscribed "Old Peep Toad Mill / North S[cit]uate, RI / Aug. 5, 1914." The town name is hard to make out, but there is an old Peep Toad Mill in East Killingly, Connecticut, not far from the Rhode Island state line. Hays had a studio in Providence, RI, and is known for painting bucolic subjects.
This is a rare original lithograph by American artist and lithographer William Morris Hunt. The image size is 7 1/2 x 5 5/8 inches, published in a small edition in 1857, after the painting by Hunt which is now in the collection of the MFA Boston. William Morris Hunt was one of the earliest American lithographers. He was also a painter and studied the French Barbizon style in Europe with Millet, a close friend. Hunt is widely credited with bringing the Barbizon style of painting back to the U.S.