In this painting a powerful sense of mood is created in which the newly-shorn sheep, liberated from the sheepfold, are only an element. The artist creates a deep vortex, almost a swirl of sheep, which appears to advance towards us, turn in the foreground and then retreat towards the sheepfold in the background in a very dynamic way. This powerful sense of movement is continued in the vigorous brushwork in the sky, vibrantly describing the setting sun as if it were a motor generating the activity below. The strange colouring creates a twilight mood of poetic reverie that was very much in tune with the public taste at the end of the nineteenth century. This painting manages to combine realism and poetry without recourse to idealized or symbolic figures, which lends it a timeless quality no doubt intended by the artist. This painting was purchased from an exhibition of recent British painting held at the Gallery in 1908. Even at this early date it was felt by the Art Gallery Committee that the nineteenth-century strengths of the Wrigley collection should be developed further and brought up to date.
Where to see this painting?
Bury Art Museum
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More on this painting
purchased with the assistance of the James Ogden Bequest