Evelyn Dunbar

A Land Girl and the Bail Bull

1945

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 914 x 1829 mm
frame: 1085 x 2000 x 80 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee 1946
Reference
N05688

Display caption

Dunbar was established as a mural painter, working at Brockley School in Kent, before she was appointed an Official War Artist in 1940. She was commissioned to record the ‘Land Army’ at work. This picture, she said, was ‘painted at Strood towards the end of the war, about 1944-5. It is an imaginative painting of a Land Girl’s work with an outdoor dairy herd on the Hampshire Downs. The bail is the moveable shed where the milking is done.’ The bull is enclosed within it.

Gallery label, September 2016

Catalogue entry

N05688 A LAND GIRL AND THE BAIL BULL 1945
 
Inscr. ‘Evelyn Dunbar 45’ b.r.
Canvas, 36×72 (91×183).
Presented by the War Artists' Advisory Committee 1946.
Exh: National War Pictures, R.A., October–November 1945 (981).

The artist wrote (7 May 1956): ‘Painted at Strood towards the end of the war, about 1944–5. It is an imaginative painting of a Land Girl's work with an outdoor dairy herd on the Hampshire Downs. The bail is the movable shed where the milking is done. Soon after dawn in the early summer the girl has to catch and tether the bull: she entices him with a bucket of fodder and hides the chain behind her, ready to snap on to the ring in his nose as soon as it is within her reach - a delicate and dangerous job.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I