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1846 - 1936
The Drinking Well
Oil on canvas, signed lower right
Image size: 16 x 24 ½ inches (40.5 x 62.5 cm)
Hand made Orientalist gilt frame
Once back, Bird resumed his Academy career with ‘A Roused Bull’ 1886. He continued to illustrate, contributing to ‘Racing and Coaching’ by AEJ Walker (1897), as well as doing the book jackets of Nat Gould’s racing novels. He seems also to have been engaged in commissions, painting prominent English racehorses of the time. Around the turn of the century, Bird started to concentrate on the Arab horse, and probably visited North Africa to study this noble animal in its natural environment. On the whole, Bird painted the Arabian horse in watercolour and achieved remarkable effects in this medium, capturing in particular the sheen of the horses’ coats and the dust of the desert.
Bird’s meticulous attention to equine anatomy and skill as an artist make him the leading horse painter of the Orientalist movement. His work is to be found in many prominent collections, including The Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace.
This painting is a rare oil, as he mainly painted in watercolour. The horses are depicted in profile, with the classical grace of a horse on the Parthenon frieze or a Stubbs. The pose conveys their elegant configuration, fine musculature and glossy coats. The desert setting is painted more broadly, as a strong backdrop in beautiful tones of blue with flecks of gold on the sunlit sky, so as not to detract from the visual impact of the powerful horses. The coats of the three horses draw the viewer in to these magnificent animals. Two of the main reasons western artists travelled to the Middle East was for the strong light and the brilliant colours, both of which Bird uses to full effect in this scene.
|Height||16.00 inch||(40.64 cm)|
|Width||24.50 inch||(62.23 cm)|