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Gilbert Spencer painted this for himself while he was a student at the Slade School of Art. There was no commission, but he was aware that he would soon be enrolled in the army,  which probably affected his choice of such a violent subject.

The style and subject resemble the paintings of Gilbert’s elder brother Stanley; it is set in Cookham Meadow, where they both lived. The activity shown also looks as though it might have been a study of how to lift a large wooden object on a farm.

September 2004