ALFRED JAMES MUNNINGS (1878-1959)
MODERN BRITISH (20th Century )
Draft Horses, Lumber Mill in the Forest of Dreux (France, 1918)
Oil on canvas
James Connell & Sons, London
Sir Alfred Munnings KCVO, An Artist's Life, Museum Press Limited, London 1950
Description / Expertise
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...