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Improvements made to the mechanisms of firearms enabled bird-shooting to become a popular sport from the late eighteenth century onwards. The somewhat lonely recreation of the sportsmen shown here, in a remote Scottish Highland landscape, is in sharp contrast to the country house shooting parties which became so fashionable in the late Victorian era.
This broadly handled oil sketch does not seem to relate to any finished picture although it is typical of Bateman's output of small-scale sporting scenes. The subject-matter and technique betray the influence of Sir Edwin Landseer in whose studio Bateman worked briefly during the 1840s.

September 2004