A Startled Ewe
Research by Sarah Kellam
Great Great Grand-daughter of Richard Ansdell
Acc No 176
Artist Richard Ansdell
Artist dates 1815-1885
Medium oil on canvas
Size 163.2 x 92.7 (64.3 x 36.5 in)
Date painted 1865
Inscr: signed '18 RA 65 (L.R.)
Donor James Leslie Schofield,
50 East Beach, Lytham
Date donated July 1952
Note: L07 EY989CN stamped on stretcher
This was painted when Ansdell was at the height of his career. He was visiting Scotland regularly during this period – this being a Scottish painting. His paintings at this time were also harking back to his two painting trips to Spain in 1856 and 1857. We know this because two of the three exhibition paintings selected for the 1865 Royal Academy Exhibition were Spanish subjects.
Take time to study this painting – the detail is amazing. Remember, there was little use of any photographical aid at this time – Ansdell worked from detailed sketches.
This painting is a favourite sheep study – Ansdell revelled in painting sheep, and especially the Scottish Black-Faced sheep as depicted here. It is Richard Ansdell at his very best – he was flourishing in 1865 and unsurpassed in his depiction and understanding of sheep. Looking at this picture you can see why. It demonstrates an accurate expertise with colour and texture, composition and paintbrush; all confidently depicting the animals to the viewer with such realism that you can almost touch the thick wool of the fleece and feel the hot breath on your face. One cannot look at this remarkable painting without the greatest respect for the ewe over her concern for her lambs as the birds of prey circle overhead in the bluest of skies with the Scottish mountains threatening behind her.
To view the complete artworks of Richard Ansdell in the Collection please click on his name under Artists on the Home page.