A Pair of Blacks and a Lumber Mill in the Forest of Dreux

ALFRED JAMES MUNNINGS (1878-1959) Biography
MODERN BRITISH (20th Century ) Biography

A Pair of Blacks and a Lumber Mill in the Forest of Dreux (France, 1918)

Sold Sold
Oil on canvas


50.80cm high
61.00cm wide
(20.00 inches high)
(24.02 inches wide)
Request information about this work of art
View all images on one page


James Connell & Sons, London


Sir Alfred Munnings KCVO, An Artist's Life, Museum Press Limited, London 1950

Description / Expertise

There is a version of this painting in the Beaverbrook Collection of War Art in the Canadian War Museum. The Percheron, the strongest workhorse in the world, originates from the Perche region in the South of Normandy. During the persecution of Protestants, and the famines of the seventeenth century, seventy percent of the region immigrated to Canada, along with large numbers from elsewhere in Normandy and in Brittany. Strong ties between Quebec and individual villages are maintained to this day.

Sir Alfred Munnings KCVO, An Artist's Life, London 1950, pages 313-5:

My next move was unexpected and unlooked-for. Amongst the officers who came to have a look, as the news spread that my pictures were to be seen on the walls of the representitive's headquarters [General Simms, the Canadian representitive, Paris-Plage, April-May 1918], there were two colonels, both in the Canadian Forestry Corps... persuading me that I must go with them and see the companies of Canadian Forestry who were then working in the many beautiful forests of France...

The forest of Conche in Normandy was my first experience of painting with the Forestry. Then came the area of the forest of Dreux, one of the finest in France, taking up fifteen square miles of ground... Each company had a hundred and twenty horses, all half-bred Percheron types, mostly blacks and greys. A rivalry existed between the companies as to which had the best-conditioned teams. I painted pictures of these teams at work, pictures of men axing, sawing down trees...