Sheep and Goat
Research by Marjorie Gregson
Acc No 4
Artist Alfred Morris
Artist dates b.1835 (active 1853-1896)
Medium oil on canvas
Size 60.9 x 73.7 cm (24 x 29 in)
Date painted 1860
Inscr: signed and dated 1860 (L.L.)
Donor Richard Ernest Eckersley, Haulgh Mount,
Headroomgate Road, St Annes
Date donated 20 March 1944
Alfred Morris, born in 1835, was a British visual painter who, working in Deptford, flourished between 1853 and 1896. Although it has not yet been possible to discover the date he died, signed and dated paintings can be found online at various auctioneers confirming that he was still active in the 1890s (eg Highland Scene with Sheep, signed and dated 1891, Tooveys auctioneers).
He was a genre painter, mostly recognised for his landscapes, which often featured sheep. He also painted sporting subjects. Morris exhibited his landscapes at the Royal Academy in 1866 and 1870 and also exhibited at the British Institution and The Society of British Artists, of which he was a member.
Showing animals in their habitat is typical of his style of painting. The animals are arranged in a triangular form, giving balance and strength to the composition. The light from the sky seems to illuminate this finely observed depiction of the animals, which are in muted but harmonious colours. The painting of the animals is well executed showing the curl and direction of the fur and celebrates their natural beauty.
In Victorian times there was a vogue for animal paintings, particularly in their natural surroundings.
Other works include:
The Bell-wether exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1866
Sheep in a Landscape (1873) Skipton Town Council
Sheep in Snow Near a Cathedral Town (1864)
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
Sheep (1896) Ramsgate Library
Sheep in a Highland Glen
The donor, Richard Ernest Eckersley, was born in Salford, Manchester in 1877. In 1881 and in 1891 he was living with his parents, Benjamin and Annie, in south Manchester.
In 1901, living with his widowed mother, he was described as a bank clerk and in the 1911 census as a sub-manager. He remained unmarried, residing with his mother and grandmother. The next reference to his address was in 1924 when it was given as Haulgh Mount, Headroomgate, St Annes.
He died in 1944, aged 68. Several paintings were left to Lytham St Annes Borough Council in his Will.